Kirk Unpopular, Trails Duckworth

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest Illinois poll finds that Mark Kirk’s popularity is plummeting, and he trails Tammy Duckworth in a hypothetical match up.

Kirk was already struggling when we last polled the state in February- only 28% of voters approved of the job he was doing to 32% who disapproved. After getting involved in a series of controversies over the last five months his numbers have turned even more in the wrong direction- now only 25% approve of him with his disapproval spiking up to 42%.

Duckworth leads Kirk 42/36 in a head to head. Although a plurality of voters in the state (42%) have no opinion about her, she’s popular among the people who are familiar with her, with 34% rating her favorably to only 23% with an unfavorable view.

Duckworth is also the overwhelming favorite in the Democratic primary, leading Andrea Zopp 59-10. That includes a 57-13 advantage for Duckworth with African American primary voters. There’s a big electability gap for the Democratic hopefuls when it comes to a match up with Kirk- Zopp would do 15 points worse than Duckworth at this point, trailing Kirk 38/29.

One thing very much to Democrats’ advantage in the Senate race is that Hillary Clinton has a substantial lead over the Republican field in the state. She is up by anywhere from 9 to 18 points against the GOP hopefuls. The Republicans who come closest to Clinton are Jeb Bush who trails by 9 at 48/39, Rand Paul who trails by 10 at 47/37, and Scott Walker who trails by 11 at 50/39. The GOPers who do the worst against Clinton are Donald Trump who’s down 18 at 51/33, and Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee who each trail by identical 16 point margins at 51/35. In between are Ben Carson and Marco Rubio who each trail by 12 points at 49/37, Chris Christie who’s down 14 at 49/35, and Carly Fiorina who trails by 15 at 49/34.

We also tested Bernie Sanders against the leading Republicans in the state and he leads all of them as well- his advantages are 4 points over Walker at 40/36, 5 points over Bush at 42/37, 6 points over Rubio at 40/34, and 16 points over Trump at 48/32. On average Clinton leads that quartet of Republicans by 13 points compared to Sanders’ average of 8 points for a 5 point disparity in their electability.

Scott Walker leads the Republican field in the state with 23% to 18% for Donald Trump, 11% for Jeb Bush, 8% for Chris Christie, 7% for Ben Carson, 6% for Marco Rubio, 5% each for Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, 4% for Ted Cruz, 3% for Carly Fiorina, 2% each for Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, 1% each for Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, and Rick Perry, and the dreaded less than 1% rounding to 0 for Jim Gilmore and George Pataki.

Walker is very popular in his neighboring state, with a 64/15 favorability rating. To put those numbers into perspective, no other Republican hopeful does better than a 51% favorability in the state. Walker leads both with voters describing themselves as ‘very conservative’ and ‘somewhat conservative,’ while Trump is the choice of moderate Republicans.

On the Democratic side Clinton is dominant. She gets 60% to 23% for Sanders, with Martin O’Malley at 4%, Jim Webb at 3%, and Lincoln Chafee at 1% rounding out the field. Clinton gets at least 54% within every group we track by ideology, gender, race, and age with her support peaking among African Americans with whom she gets 76% and Hispanics with whom she gets 72%.

Other notes from Illinois:

-Bruce Rauner’s become unpopular with only 37% of voters approving of the job he’s doing now to 43% who disapprove.

-When we polled Aaron Schock’s favorability rating statewide in 2012, voters were closely divided in their feelings about him with 18% giving him favorable marks and 17% unfavorable ones. Now it’s safe to say any popularity he had has faded away- now only 7% of voters in the state see him positively with 37% holding a negative opinion of him. Even among Republicans Schock’s favorability is a 14/33 spread.

-The Cubs remain the most popular MLB team in the state with 40% identifying as fans of them. The competition for second place is a lot more intense with the White Sox edging out the Cardinals 22% to 19%. No other team has more than 3% fan support. Joe Maddon (53/9 approval) and Mike Matheny (50/6 approval) are both largely popular within their fan bases. Robin Ventura is struggling though with only 16% of Sox fans approving of him to 36% who disapprove. Granted it’s a small sample size of White Sox fans, but those are some of the worst numbers we’ve ever found in our baseball manager approval polling.

Full results here

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