Robin Kelly, candidate for the seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., is leading in the latest poll conducted by Gerstein Bocian Agne Strategies. With just three weeks before the special primary election for Congress in Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, former state representative Robin Kelly has leapfrogged the competition and moved into first place.
Robin Kelly now leads the field with 26 percent of all likely voters, putting her in a strong position heading into the campaign’s final weeks. Former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson has slipped into second place at 22 percent and state senator Toi Hutchinson is in third place with 20 percent. Alderman Anthony Beale (10 percent), former Congressman Mel Reynolds (5 percent) and health care executive Joyce Washington (2 percent) also register support.
Robin Kelly’s momentum is a direct result of voters’ increasing attention to the race and Kelly’s leadership in taking on the National Rifle Association, a poisonous organization in this electorate. While the debate in this campaign is clearly defined around the issue of gun violence prevention, many still remain unaware of the real differences between Kelly and her opponents.
Hutchinson, in particular, is currently benefiting from relatively low awareness of her A-rating from the NRA and her efforts to keep her questionnaire responses from the public. However, Hutchinson’s support declines precipitously once voters hear more about
her NRA A-rating.
Kelly’s surge now positions her as the clear alternative to Halvorson, who previously led in every poll released in this district.
The following are key findings from a survey of 400 likely voters in the February 26th special primary election. Interviews were conducted on February 4-5 and respondents were reached on both landlines and cell phones. Results for the survey carry a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval.
• Kelly moves into first place: After sitting behind both Halvorson and Hutchinson in an early January survey, Kelly now leads the pack at 26 percent of likely voters.
• Kelly has a wide base of support: Kelly’s lead is broad as she expands her support in every corner of the district. She now leads among African American voters across the district and throughout Cook County—both in the city and the suburbs.
• Kelly's leadership on gun control resonating: Among those voters who volunteer that they have heard Kelly’s message on preventing gun violence and taking on
the NRA, she wins a whopping 65 percent of the vote.
• The NRA remains toxic in IL-2: Just 16 percent of likely voters have a favorable impression of the NRA here, with 60 percent holding a negative impression. No voting bloc—racial, regional, or ideological has a favorable impression of the group. Even self described conservatives have a negative view by a 2:1 margin.
More troubling for Hutchinson and Halvorson is that a solid majority (56 percent) of voters say they would be "not at all likely" to support a candidate who they agreed with on a majority of issues, but who earned an "a" from the NRA. Another 15 percent said they would only be “a little likely” to support such a candidate.
• Hutchinson’s true record on guns not out yet: This week’s Chicago Tribune story detailing Senator Hutchinson’s responses on her NRA questionnaire that earned her an A rating has not yet penetrated the public’s perception. More than one in five (21 percent) of voters who say they would not support an A-rated candidate are currently voting for Hutchinson—support that is likely to disappear as the campaign continues.
• Halvorson’s standing upside down: Halvorson’s vote share declined from 25 to 22 percent over the last month. While not a precipitous fall, Halvorson’s personal standing has taken a serious hit in recent weeks. In January, 2nd District primary voters viewed Halvorson favorably by a 34 – 18 percent margin. Halvorson’s negative standing has more than doubled in that time (29 percent favorable – 37 percent unfavorable). Her decline among African Americans is particularly steep.
As of press time, the Daily Kos endorsement has resulted in $57,615 from 2,547 individual donors, according to the Act Blue website.
To donate to the Robin Kelly for Congress campaign, click on the contribution page.
Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions or even to volunteer for Robin Kelly at email@example.com.
John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns and is currently an unpaid volunteer for the Robin Kelly for Congress campaign. Robin Kelly also has a facebook fan page.