Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Part II: Paul Green’s March Primary Vote Analysis—Democratic Inroads in the Collars of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will but Downstate Presents Dem Pitfalls

[Another excerpt from Dr. Paul Green’s highly reputable study of the vote results, produced in cooperation with the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University which he heads. For more info, contact or fax (312) 341-4325.]

Democratic Collar Votes.

The collars, long a Republican bastion, have become of increasing importance to Democratic politics. [My addition: Look at State Rep. Jack Franks of Woodstock, originally elected with difficulty, now running unopposed]. Nearly 14 percent of the statewide primary vote came from the collars with DuPage and Will counties foremost.

But downstate Illinois is returning to its old Republican roots. In the 2006 primary, the downstate percentage (24 percent) barely beat the Suburban 30 figure (22 percent). As expected, the twin Democratic southwestern downstate powerhouse counties (St. Clair with 20,659) and Madison (14,499) were tops with Winnebago a close third (14,125). Other than those, only Rock Island county cast at least 10,000+ Democratic votes.

Democratic Downstate Votes.

Sangamon (Springfield) is of special interest. Normally the party of the governor does well there in primary contests due to state workers. But Republicans outpolled the Democrats 2 to 1 in Sangamon showing that central and western Illinois could be fertile to GOP support.

Republican State Turnout.

The Green Report shows diminished Republican turnout in the primary compared to the 2002 last off-year primary, a loss of 194,712 votes. The big story is where the diminished number of votes came from. “The most startling statistic was that in the 2002 primary Downstate 96 counties, vopters produced nearly 100,000 more Republican ballots than did their brethren in the five collars. In 2006, this regional vote differential was reduced to less than 50,000. To be sure, the sudden snowstorm in central Illinois may have been a major factor in this vote percentage shift—but whatever the explanation, the GOP chances for any kind of upset in November, 2006 must see impressive downstate turnouts.”

Republican Turnout-Chicago.

Chicago remains the non-player in Illinois GOP primary politics. Five city wards produced at least 1000 Republican votes (41st, 42nd, 43rd, 45th, 19th. Two of these wards are on the fa r northwest side (41st and 45th), two are along the near north lakefront, (42nd and 43rd) and one on the far southwest side (19th). At the bottom end, six wards with fewer than 100 votes each and the two highest Democratic turnout wards (19th and 8th ) easily outpolled the total GOP Chicago count.

Republican Turnout-Suburban Cook 30.

Northwest Cook townships supplied the bulk of the Suburban 30 vote. Half of the top ten vote generating townships were from this region led by Wheeling, Palatine and Maine. Three southwestern townships—Lyons, Worth and Orland—comprised the top ten while the remaining two best vote producers were western townships Proviso and Leyden. As the tables show, the Suburban 30 percentage of the total GOP statewide primary vote dropped dramatically.

In only seven townships was the Republican turnout greater than the Democratic. In only two of those seven townships (Barrington and Palatine) was there a significant percent difference favoring the GOP. In the Republican run of seven straight gubernatorial victories between 1976 and 1998 every GOP candidate carried the Suburban 30 by at least 100,000 votes. In 2002, Jim Ryan not only didn’t carry this region by more than 100,000 votes he lost it by over 50,000 votes. A 2006 Republican repeat of this 2002 scenario in the Suburban30 will destroy any victory hopes of Judy Baar Topinka.

Republican Collar Votes.

DuPage cast over a third of the Republican collar primary vote. Will surged into second place. There was a shift in the collar county vote in 2006: In 2002 DuPage’s GOP vote nearly matched the combined vote for McHenry, Will and Kane. But in 2006, Will and Kane by themselves out-produced DuPage’s turnout. Any Republican serious about winning statewide in 2006 must run heavily in the collars. It is getting closer to being the vote-production equal of the Downstate 96 in Illinois Republican politics.

Republican Turnout for Downstate 96.

The 2006 top ten counties wee identical to the 2002 primary top ten except central Illinois’ Macon county was out and “side-state” (areas west of the collars) Ogle county was in. Winnebago was the top turnout county while six others had turnouts over 10,000 votes—McLean, Sangamon, Champaign, Kendall, Peoria and Tazewell. The central Illinois (I-72 axis) remains critical in statewide GOP politics. Fast-growing Kendall is the one to watch, a county whose phenomenal growth gives it national recognition, each year receiving thousands of new GOP voters.

[Next time: The Democratic primary for governor analysis].

No comments:

Post a Comment