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Illinois Senate: Incumbent Durbin Still Way Ahead

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, continues to dominate his Republican opponent Steve Sauerberg in his bid for re-election. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds the incumbent leading 60% to 31%.

When “leaners” are included, Durbin leads 61% to 33%.

In July, Durbin was ahead 61% to 27%. He is currently seeking his third term in the Senate. Sauerberg is a doctor from the Chicago suburbs.

Durbin, the Senate majority whip since January 2007, leads 57% to 33% among men in Illinois and 62% to 29% among women. The incumbent also has a 59% to 20% lead among voters not affiliated with either major political party.

Durbin is viewed favorably by 59% of Illinois voters and unfavorably by 29%. Sauerberg’s numbers are 37% favorable and 30% unfavorable, while 33% are not sure.

Barack Obama, the state's other senator, remains comfortably ahead of his Republican presidential rival John McCain in Illinois, now considered perhaps the most reliably Democratic state in the Midwest.

The survey also found that 54% in Illinois are not confident that lawmakers will pass a construction plan during a special session called in Springfield by Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. One in five voters (20%) are not confident at all the plan will be passed. The plurality of voters (42%) blame the governor for the stalemate on the plan, while 19% put the blame on House Speaker Mike Madigan, also a Democrat, and 12% blame other legislative leaders.

Blagojevich continues to earn harsh ratings from Illinois voters. Just 16% say the governor is doing a good or excellent job, while 57% say he is doing a poor job.

Recently, some lawmakers have complained that the state inadequately distributes public school funding because funding is based upon property taxes. When asked if voters think lawmakers should change this system, 58% agreed while 31% believe the system should remain the same. State Senator James Meeks is calling on Chicago Public School students to boycott the first day of class and attempt to enroll in wealthier suburban schools instead. Half of voters (50%) say the boycott would hurt the progress of the desired legislation, while just 13% believe the protests would help.

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This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on August 12, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Illinois Trends: Durbin (D) vs. Sauerberg (R)













Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in Illinois




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Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.