Monday, September 17, 2012
Presidential Coattails May Be Short In State Races
While the presidential election has captured the nation’s attention, Illinois political scientists say that shifting regional demographics and the state’s new electoral maps will have a much larger impact on down-ticket legislative races in Illinois than the candidates at the top of the ballot.
“[President Barack] Obama will carry Illinois comfortably,” said John Jackson, a visiting professor with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at the Southern Illinois University. The president won the state with about 62 percent of the vote in 2008. Recent polling suggests that his popularity in Illinois has slipped since but still shows him leading Republican challenger Mitt Romney by a strong margin.
“Where Obama’s numbers are not good downstate, and where Quinn’s numbers are not good, the Democrats are going to try to make the elections as local as possible,” said Kent Redfield, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield. “You’re going to see Democrats downstate running away from the national ticket, away from Gov. Quinn.”
Redfield said that the new legislative districts, which were drawn by Democrats, and changes in demographics will play a much larger role in state legislative races. “I think the map is defensive downstate and aggressive in the suburbs," said Redfield. He added: “You could end up with a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate with a smaller percentage of downstate members in the caucus. In fact, I think that’s likely that there will be fewer downstate Democrats after this race.”
He said the potential for fewer downstate Democrats and fewer suburban Republicans could lead to more regional conflicts in the future. “Any time Chicago and the suburbs agree on an issue, downstate [would be] in trouble.”
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/presidential-coattails-less-of-factor.html