UTICA, New York — Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois' 2nd District is the favorite among possible replacements to fill the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, a new Zogby telephone poll shows.
The survey, conducted Nov. 5-6, 2008, shows that, given a choice of 10 possible candidates, 21% think Gov. Rod Blagojevich should appoint Jackson to the seat when Obama leaves it vacant to ascend to the presidency, far more than the rest of the field. Tammy Duckworth, a former Democratic congresswoman candidate from a suburban Chicago district, is the only other potential candidate to win double-digit support -14% said she should be appointed.
Jackson's base of support is strongest among those who consider themselves "strong Democrats," 32% of which believe he should win the appointment to the Obama seat, while 14% favored Duckworth. Among moderately strong Democrats, 25% said they think Duckworth should be appointed, compared to 20% who favored Jackson. Among weak Democrats, Jackson leads with 18% support, compared to 12% support for Duckworth.
Among independent voters, Jackson is favored over Duckworth by a 14% to 10% margin. Among Republicans, Jackson is also favored over Duckworth. Support levels for other candidates are 6 percent for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, 4 percent for Congressman Danny Davis and 4 percent for State Senator James Meeks. Several other candidates received less than 1 percent.
Jackson's support spans the state of Illinois - he is favored for the appointment by a wide margin in the Chicago area and in the St. Louis metropolitan area, but also is favored in the suburbs and the rural areas of the state.
Among those who voted for Obama in the presidential race, 25% favor Jackson for the appointment, compared to 15% who favor Duckworth. Jackson's support also spans all age groups except voters over age 70 (where Duckworth is favored by 16% and Jackson by 15%). Jackson's edge is widest among those under age 30, where 19% said they preferred his appointment, compared to just 5% who would rather Duckworth take the Senate seat.
Men favor Jackson over Duckworth by a narrow margin. Interestingly, Jackson holds a sizable edge among women - 26% favor Jackson, compared to 14% who favor Duckworth.
Among those who consider themselves ideologically liberal, 25% would prefer Jackson be appointed to the seat, compared to 15% who would prefer Duckworth. Moderates also favor Jackson, by 5 points, over Duckworth, while he is preferred by 6 points among Illinois conservatives.
Jackson Would Defeat Republican Opponents
In two prospective Senate races, Jackson would defeat Republican Congressman Ray LaHood by a 50% to 31% margin, the survey shows. Among the 15% who were not certain about whom they would support, nearly two said they were leaning toward Jackson for every one that was leaning toward supporting LaHood.
Jackson's district includes part of Chicago and extends to the south suburbs. Lahood is a congressman from rural Illinois whose district includes Peoria and the northern suburbs of Springfield.
In a prospective match-up against Republican Congressman Mark Kirk, Jackson wins 48% support, compared to 32% for Kirk. Among the 15% who are leaning toward one candidate or the other, Kirk has a 10% to 7% edge, the survey shows. Kirk's district is north of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan.
The telephone survey was commissioned by the Jackson campaign, and was conducted using live interviewers calling from Zogby's in-house call center in Upstate New York, included 802 likely voters statewide in Illinois from across the political spectrum. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
After a short biographical statement was read about Jesse Jackson Jr., respondents were much more likely to support him for the U.S. Senate - 69% were more likely to support Jesse Jackson Jr. for the U.S. Senate, while 25% were not likely.
Likely voters across Illinois were asked whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the following people who are potential candidates for the U.S. Senate seat now held by President-elect Barack Obama: