Is the DCCC Sitting On Bad Polling Numbers in Illinois? PLUS: Could the GOP Lose Kirk's Old Seat?

Posted: Sep 08, 2010 8:22 AM
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a slew of polls yesterday purporting to show its candidates on solid footing in about a dozen key races.  Roll Call accurately described the move as a "poll dump" designed to staunch the flow of wretched anti-Democrat polling data that's been dominating headlines.

What's likely more interesting than the polls the DCCC hand-selected to highlight are those they chose to bury, and some GOP insiders in Illinois believe their opponents are withholding some damaging results from the Prarie State.

A well-placed Republican source tells me party operatives "strongly believe" the DCCC polled at least one Illinois House district late last month.  They've obtained the questions-only portion of a poll that (a) was not commissioned by Republicans and (b) has not been reported by any local media.  The poll includes questions that appear to be worded to help Rep. Bill Foster (D, IL-14) craft effective negative messages against his Republican opponent, State Senator Randy Hultgren

If, indeed, the DCCC polled the 14th District in Illinois (and perhaps others), its decision to quash the results speaks volumes.  Perhaps they saw Hultgren building on the 7-point lead he held in an early August survey from a small polling firm called We Ask America.  That same survey showed Republican Young Gun Adam Kinzinger dominating incumbent Democrat Debbie Halvorson 51-31 in IL-11.  Summer polls also indicate another embattled Democratic incumbent, Phil Hare, is in hot water in IL-17.

One sour note for an otherwise buoyant Illinois GOP is a brand new poll showing perennial candidate Dan Seals (D) beating Robert Dold (R) by 13 points in Illinois' 10th district--an open seat due to Mark Kirk's Senate bid.   I'm skeptical of this poll, especially its wide margin.  The 10th district has been held by Republicans for 30 years, and Dold is a strong candidate with moderate positions that fit the district's sensibilities.  The quasi-unemployed Seals has already lost twice in IL-10, including in 2008 when Barack Obama cut a campaign ad for him before carrying the district over John McCain by 23 points.  If Seals couldn't get the job done in two of the best Democratic years in recent memory, I have trouble believing he's leading comfortably in this political climate.  We shall see.