Monday, August 14, 2006

Paul Green on the Statistics of the Republican Gubernatorial Race: With Italics Showing Where This Blog Disagrees with the Analysis. Also the Lt. Governor Figures

[The final excerpt of Dr. Paul Green’s statistical analysis of the March primary conducted under the auspices of Roosevelt University’s Institute of Politics which he heads. And my apologies for disagreeing in some portions with his analysis.]

Green: “The Illinois Republican party is in big trouble. The curse of philosophical differences between social and economic GOP conservatives is real, ongoing and as of this writing seemingly unsolvable. The party’s 2006 statewide chances for victory rest with a U. S. attorney’s investigation of Governor Blagojevich’s administration and the possibility the Democrats could split on racial/economic issues. Even having a referendum on the November ballot concerning the `definition of marriage’ will not unite Illinos Republicans. Why?

“Social conservatives consider themselves the bedrock of the Illinois GOP.” My view: Well, aren’t they? What is? Big business? White ethnics? African Americans? Those constituencies are divided between Democrats and Republicans. Green: “These individuals, sometimes called `zealots’ see abortion and gay rights as the overwhelming critical issues facing the state and nation.” My view: His use of the word “zealots” is prejudicial. Was the civil rights movement zealotry in the 1960s-70s? I’ll bet Dr. Green would say not. Was the peace movement zealotry? I’ll bet Dr. Green who in his youth worked for Bobby Kennedy would say not. When is passion zealotry? Marching in a gay-rights parade as does Topinka? Support for pro-life as does the heavy majority of the Republican party? Zealotry is what is believed by conservatives, evidently.

“On the other side are economic conservatives, many of whom have moderate positions on the social issues…” My view: “Moderate” meaning pro-choice” “who stress balanced budgets, less taxes and pro-business growth…My view: Republicans come in two individualized categories in which never the twain shall meet:: economic conservatives and pro-lifers? . Many of these individuals reside in suburban Cook and the collar counties and were huge supporters of Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar and George Ryan—all successful past GOP gubernatorial candidates.” My view: I’ll let the view that Jim Thompson and George Ryan pursued balanced budgets and less taxes answer itself, remembering that Thompson would campaign on no new taxes and once elected and reelected called for them and as for Ryan, well--. Jim Edgar was indeed a fiscal conservative.

“The 2006 Illinois Republican gubernatorial primary saw State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka win a hard-fought four-way race for the nomination. Though she only garnered 38.2 percent of the statewide primary vote, she was victories in all four of Illinois voting regions (Oberweis ws second everywhere but in the Downstate 96. Her main opponents, Jim Oberweis (businessman and now three-time GOP primary loser…) Bill Brady, (central Illinois state senator) and Ron Gidwitz, Chicagoland businessman, spent most of the primary attacking Topinka. Oberweis and Gidwtiz were especially harsh as they used their sizable campaign war chests to blister Topinka in statewide ads. Brady was much more relaxed in his criticism and in debates and forums actually went after his other rivals—not just Topinka.” My view: Ron Gidwitz, no social conservative but who is pro-choice, attacked Topinka strenuously in his TV ads. I didn’t see Oberweis ads attacking Topinka particularly but if these were used downstate I wouldn’t have seen them. I am not aware that Brady attacked Topinka at all but was severely critical of Oberweis. Perhaps readers can refresh me on this. How much did Brady attack Topinka and how much in downstate TV ads did Oberweis attack Topinka? I’m curious and really don’t know the answer.

“In the end, Topinka aided greatly by former governor Jim Edgar, won a bitter contest that leaves her needing major campaign dollars and a modicum of party unity.” Right.

Republican Vote in Chicago.

“Though Chicago is almost a non-combatant in Republican statewide primary races, Topinka was able to garner a 3,560 city vote margin over Oberweis with Chicago giving her the largest percentage differential against Oberweis. The state treasurer won 45 wards with her best margins coming from the 41st on the city’s far northwest side and the near north lakefront wards. Though the turnouts were small and the margins tiny—her performance could indicate that Topinka may generate (as in her past campaigns more Chicago vote muscle than typical statewide Republican candidates. Oberweis won 3 wards with a combined vote margin of 14 votes. Gidwitz won the Westside 24th ward and one ward was a tie.

Republican Vote in Suburban 30.

“Topinka, a west township suburbanite, scored well in her region. She had six townships give her a 1000+ victory margin over Oberweis and five of them were in the western suburbs (Proviso, Lyons, Leyden, Riverside, Maine and Cicero. Percentage-wise, Topinka’s strength remained in the western part of the county. Riverside gave their favorite daughter 80.0 percent of their vote while Cicero came through at 70.6 percent. Four other townships gave Topinka over 50 percent while four others came close to the 50 percent figure—all of these townships from the western region.

“Oberweis won the other six townships. In none of them did he receive 50 percent + of the vote. Percentage-wise his best townships were Thornton and W heeling. Margin-wise Wheeling topped his list. Oberweis did receive over 30 percent of the vote in nearly two-thirds of the suburban 30 demonstrating support throughout the county. Brady captured less than 10 percent of the suburban 30 and was a non-factor.

Republican Vote in Collars.

“Oberweis ran best in the collar counties. Topinka defeated him here by less than 3 percent of the vote. Oberweis carried three collars—Kane (his home), McHenry and Will.. Percentage-wise McHenry (41.6 percent) and Kane (40.0 percent) were his best and DuPage (31.6 percent) was by far his worse. Kane gave him his highest margin win while again DuPage turned out to be a margin disaster for Oberweis. DuPage came through big-time for Topinka with (43.6 percent)…Clearly longtime party regulars and suburban `moderate/conservatives’ saw Topinka as their best hope to defeat Blagojevich.

“Two other interesting aspects to the collar county results. Neither Gidwitz nor Brady hit 20 percent in any of the collars (Gidwitz came closest with 118.1 percent in Lake county). Second, Topinka’s Kane county vote percentage nearly matched Oberweis’ DuPage vote percentage. The big difference was DuPage cast more than twice as many GOP votes as Kane and Topinka ran 2 percentage points better than Oberweis did in Kane. Thus a Topinka Collar 5 margin victory.”

Republican Downstate 96.

“By far downstate was the most competitive battle zone of the GOP gubernatorial battle. Unlike the other regions, downstate was a 3-way conflict with central Illinoisan Brady coming in second to Topinka. Speculation on the mid-state election day snowstorm holding down turnout and hurting Brady is beyond the scope of this report—but one thing is for sure—in November, Topinka must run wild in the counties located between I-70 and I-980 to be elected governor.

“Downstate was Topinka’s worst percentage voting region, 34.0 percent, but it also produced her highest vote margin—21,497—against Oberweis. Obviously she benefited form the head-to-head battle of her two closest rivals and because of this fact many hard-line social conservatives have blamed Brady for Oberweis’ loss.” My view: As a hard-liner, I’m one of them. Brady people say that were he not running, most of his votes would have gone to Topinka. I seriously doubt this.

“By far, Topinka’s best downstate county was Sangamon which like DuPage is filled with traditional Republican supporters.” My view: “Traditional meaning non-social conservatives? Isn’t it endemic that Sangamon always reflects the candidate who has support more jobs since it is the home of state government? “In all, Topinka had seven other counties give her a majority of their vote including Morgan (located just west of Sangamon) which produced a surprising 1,716 vote margin. Lastly, two east central Illinois counties—Champaign and Coles—deserve a special mention. Though Topinka lost Champaign county to Brady, she was able to defeat Oberweis here by 2,235 votes. Coles county gave her a 1,285 vote margin over Oberweis. Both of these counties are the home turf of former Governor Jim Edgar whose support was crucial in this region.

“Oberweis rqan well in the southwest and northwest parts of the state—and also in central state LaSalle county. Four counties gave him 1000+ margins over Topinka—Madison, Winnebago, St. Clair and Monroe. His combined vote margin of victory over Topinka in these four counties was nearly 1000 votes fewer than her margin over him in Sangamon. Oberweis also ran well in Kendall. Brady’s home county, McLean gave him 72.1 percent of its vote and a 6,678 margin over Topinka. As expected, he ran well in central Illinois, especially in those counties in or close to his senate district. Brady carried 22 downstate counties against significant opposition. If he can overcome the current hard feelings of diehard [sic] social conservatives…he will be a future force in GOP statewide politics.”

“As for Gidwitz—despite dropping big bucks on statewide television aids, he came in a distant fourth, receiving less than 7 percent of the vote.”

My view: “Gidwitz was running for the first time and showed it. Having said that, however, his campaign, exceeded Oberweis’ in informed views on a variety of issues while as strong as Oberweis on fiscal policy and economics. Gidwitz far exceeded Topinka and Brady on issue familiarity. He improved marvelously on radio to the point where now he is a full-fledged radio participant with sharply defined and incisive views. It can be said that of all the candidates for governor, Gidwitz improved most noticeably, having debated Alderman Joe Moore on Big Box and acquitted himself o.k. . Topinka never came out with any programs and was a disappointment. Oberweis continued to stress economic and immigration issues and in a more modulated performance turned in an improvement over the past. Brady gave the impression from start to last that he was somewhat “winging it” on education, particularly, and fiscal, relying on his undeniable charisma and youth. But Gidwitz consistently produced more in-depth analyses and continues to do so. Take it from this conservative talk-show host who favored Oberweis.

“Topinka and the economic conservatives won the battle…” My view: The only Republican candidate who would not take a no tax hike pledge was the economic conservative?

Republican Lieutenant Governor.

In the 2006 Republican lieutenant governor primary, DuPage States Attorney Joe Birkett was endorsed as running mate with Topinka…State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger as running mate with Ron Gidwitz. Kane county clerk Sandy Wegman and Lawrence Buckner were unaligned with either Brady or Oberweis. Wegman and Buckner were able to get 20 percent of the lieutenant governor statewide vote.

GOP Lieutenant Governor—Chicago.

Birkett won all four regions, leading Dr. Green to opine that his linkage with Topinka gave him voting “oomph.” He carried 47 Chicago wards and built up a 5,057 vote margin over Rauschenberger. Three northwest side wards gave him his biggest margins –41st (his best), 45th and 36th . The 41st gave him 63.5 percent, the top, while these two were in the 60 percent range: the 36th and 26th. Eighteen Chicago wards gave Birkett a majority but the actual GOP vote turnouts ranged from small to microscopic. Rauschenberger’s two winning wards were the 5th and 24th which combined gave him a 13-vote edge over Birkett. Rauschenberger was competitive with Birkett in the near north lakefront wards and a few isolated wards in other parts of the city. Wegman scored at least 20 percent in the low GOP turnout black and Hispanic wards and tied Birkett and Rauschenberger in the southside 16th…each of three candidates receiving 24 votes.

GOP Lieutenant Governor—Suburban 30.

Birkett ran best in the Suburban 30—53.6 percent vs. 53.3 percent in the Collars. Like Topinka, he ran best in the west suburban areas, Topinka’s home turf and next door to DuPage. Four townships gave him 2000+ margins: Lyons, Proviso, Worth and Leyden. Three others were in the 1000+ category: Maine, Riverside and Orland. He won 20 townships, his best percentage being Riverside (Topinka’s home0—77.4 percent…but he also ran well in almost every part of the county.

Raushenberger’s three township wins were Hanover (his home area), New Trier and Evanston. Only Hanover gave him a substantial margin win (1081) which was also his highest percentage victory as well. He did poorly in the western suburban townships. Green: “A random thought: a Birkett-Rauschenberger contest without the Topinka factor would have been a real barn-burner in the Suburban 30 but the state senator’s vast state budget knowledge was no match for an articulate Birkett backed by the popular Topinka. My view: Slightly more votes were cast against than for the `popular Topinka.’

GOP Lieutenant Governor—Downstate 96.

Percentage-wise downstate was Birkett’s weakest area but was also not good for Rauschenberger. “Perhaps the big story was that little-known Wegman won 15.6 percent of the vote and Buckner, even more unknown, won 8.4 percent. Together these two individuals with little name recognition combined to garner nearly a quarter of the downstate vote. Amazing!” My view: Wegman had very, very good radio commercials.

Birkett carried 84 of the 96 downstate counties. Sangamon produced his biggest victory. Eighteen other counties gave him 1000+ wins and he won 50+ of the vote in nearly half of his victorious counties—a “solid but not spectacular triumph.”

Green’s Big 3 Predictions for November.

First, unless Topinka can raise significant campaign dollars from $5 million to $10 million, she will have a tough time unseating Blagojevich.

Second, GOP State Treasurer candidate Christine Radogno has an excellent chance of keeping that office in Republican hands because…

Third, the geo-political battle will be in the Suburban 30. To carry the state, a Republican candidate must carry suburban Cook county and as of this writing Radogno has the best suburban prospects compared to the rest of the GOP statewide ticket.

Thus concludes the Paul Green report which is masterful in its sweeping analysis even if this Blog doesn’t agree on all points with him. Details of the report can be obtained by email: or by fax (312) 341-4325.

1 comment:

  1. Brady did not attack Judy at all the only attacks were directed at Oberweis. Oberweis ran the same ads downstate that he did in Chicago area.

    Green also forgot to list collar county Lake co. as a Oberweis win, and he seemed to gloss over Wheeling Township it happens to be the biggest GOP township in Cook. I also wonder why Green wants to down play the other counties by bunching them together with Dupage? People like Green were on television saying Oberweis could not be elected because of the immigration issue, and JBT was the only electable candidate. It now seems that the people agree with Oberweis and that he was not so far to the right and i don't know of anyone who does not think that id Oberweis or any other candidate but JBT were on the ballot the GOP would be waltzing in to the Governors office in Nov.

    If you did not know the outcome you would think Oberweis was not close to Judy and that conservatives should just give in and be happy with the crumbs the "Moderates" throw from the table. Oberweis got 31.9% JBT 38.2%

    BTW Professor Green the life issue is a wash in Illinois 50-50 and has been for years. If you break it down to abortion on demand, Abortion loses in a land slide. So moderate must mean it's because you believe that.