Signature Trouble for Rep. Rush;
New Hampshire Data Shows Tie

Dec. 10, 2015 — Chicago Rep. Bobby Rush is being challenged in the March 15th Democratic primary, and his opponent’s latest legal maneuver could be a harbinger of trouble for the veteran congressman. Chicago Alderman Howard Brookins Jr. filed a complaint with the Illinois secretary of state charging that Rush has not submitted the requisite number of signature petitions necessary to qualify for the ballot.

According to Brookins, Rush filed less than 750 signatures, a number far short of the 1,314 required. Brookins also claims many of the signatures appear faulty, citing the ineligibility of some of those signing in addition to many duplications. The Rush campaign responded with the representative’s spokesman saying that the organization submitted more than 3,200 signatures, which is obviously a much different story.

Since the petition deadline has passed, the lack of signatures, if true, is a serious issue. Should the election authorities determine that Rep. Rush has not met the signature qualification, he will be disqualified from the primary ballot. Under Illinois election law, however, he could run in the general election as an Independent.

If forced to take the latter course, the congressman’s chances of winning a three-way race against Brookins and a Republican candidate would be considered good. The 1st District is heavily Democratic and Rush has defeated all comers handily here since 1992. In 2000, for example, he held primary challenger Barack Obama, then a state senator, to a 61-30 percent victory to mark the future president’s first and only electoral defeat.

New Hampshire

Public Policy Polling (Nov. 30-Dec. 2; 990 registered New Hampshire voters; 458 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters, 454 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters) released their new Granite State survey. The results, unsurprisingly, find that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) are tied. According to these figures, each has 42 percent support.

The data is consistent with other polls of this contest but, when looking at the sample size’s characteristics, we find the ballot test actually favors Ayotte.

Though no presidential race horse questions were asked, the fact that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most liberal of all the candidates, is the only contender of either party with a favorable image, 46:40 percent positive to negative, suggests a liberal skew. Additionally, it is Sen. Sanders who fares better against every Republican in individual head-to-head polling and not former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Again, unusual findings that suggest an irregular polling sample. In contrast to Sanders, her favorability index is an anemic 38:55 percent.

Such is confirmed when examining the ideology question responses, after seeing leftward pluralities or majorities on all issue questions. Here, 31 percent of the respondents describe themselves as either somewhat (19 percent) or very (12 percent) liberal as compared to 33 percent who call themselves wither somewhat (21 percent) or very (12 percent) conservative. The fact that the ideological spread is virtually even reveals the liberal skew. Typically, the conservative side tops those self-proclaimed liberals by more than 10 percentage points.

If Sen. Ayotte tying Gov. Hassan within this sample is good news for the Republican, then Executive Councilor Chris Sununu (R), son of former governor and White House chief of staff John Sununu (R), posts an even more impressive performance.

Paired in a hypothetical open governor’s race with Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern (D), Sununu finds himself with a 40-34 percent statewide advantage. If investment specialist Mark Connolly were the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Sununu would top him by a similar 40-36 percent.

Among Democrats, Van Ostern has a small 21-15 percent lead over Connolly for the party nomination. On the Republican side, Sununu enjoys a 60-12 percent margin against state Rep. Frank Edelblut, his chief primary opponent.

Considering New Hampshire’s swing political nature since 2006, all campaigns, including the presidential general election contest, must be considered too close to call and will likely have that status all the way to Election Day.

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