Tags: | Illinois | Senate | Oberweis | Durbin

Poll: Republican Oberweis Gaining on Durbin in Illinois Senate Race

Image: Poll: Republican Oberweis Gaining on Durbin in Illinois Senate Race
Republican Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis, left, and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. (Scott Olson/Getty Images; T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 29 Sep 2014 12:14 PM

Republican Jim Oberweis is slowly closing the gap on four-term Sen. Dick Durbin in Illinois as midterm elections steam toward their final month of campaigning, Fox News reported.

A new poll found Oberweis, an Illinois state senator who leads a family-owned dairy business, just seven points behind the veteran senator — even as some consultants say it seems unlikely that Oberweis will ultimately emerge the winner.

“We knew this race was getting very tight,” Oberweis told Fox. “No one has ever held Dick Durbin accountable for his failed policies in the past. But I intend to do exactly that with the voters of Illinois.”

Oberweis has earned some credibility within groups who traditionally have supported Democrats. Those include some high-level black ministers, including Bishop Larry Trotter, who leads a congregation at Chicago's Sweet Holt Spirit Church that numbers about 8,000 members, Fox News noted.

“We are certainly competing with support from the African-American community. Bishop Trotter was wonderfully supportive,” Oberweis said of the interest.

Oberweis has run for office five times, consultants pointed out, giving him strong name recognition among Illinois voters, but also the negative of never coming up a winner.

Durbin's team questioned the finding of the new polling that showed his opponent gaining. A Chicago Sun-Times poll as recently as a week ago had Oberweis down by 10 points, a five-point gain from similar polling in July.

“The methodology behind both of the polls, which is automated polls, robocalls, probably aren’t the best way to do tracking,” noted Ron Holmes, Durbin's spokesman, in an interview with Fox News.

Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, has yet to ratchet up his full-on ad blitz, leading some to believe that when he does, it could move the race further in his favor. “Durbin hasn’t really done a lot of advertising yet … which makes me think when he starts doing more, then yes, it could open it up again,” noted Matt Dietrich, who serves as executive director at Reboot Illinois.

A Chicago Tribune poll found Durbin holding a much more substantial lead, 23 points, according to data released in mid-September, the Tribune reported.

"The poll results confirm what political handicappers have long asserted: Durbin's strength across the state makes him nearly impossible to beat," the Tribune wrote, noting that just 32 percent of those respondents who identified as "very conservative" had a favorable opinion of Oberweis.

A Real Clear Politics polling average from mid-August to mid-September found Oberweis down by 14 points.

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Republican Jim Oberweis is slowly closing the gap on four-term Sen. Dick Durbin in Illinois as midterm elections steam toward their final month of campaigning, Fox News reported.
Illinois, Senate, Oberweis, Durbin
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2014-14-29
Monday, 29 Sep 2014 12:14 PM
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