Jesse Jackson Jr. shows a commanding lead over his two challengers, with 58 percent of likely voters saying they would send the beleaguered congressman back to the U.S. House for two more years, according to a new We Ask America poll.
Republican Brian Woodworth would be the choice of 27 percent of voters, and independent challenger Marcus Lewis is favored by 15 percent.
Woodworth said he will not read too much into the poll, but took an optimistic view of the results.
"A poll is a just poll and not an indicator of success or loss," Woodworth said. "I’m actually encouraged because Republicans typically don’t make up a third of the district. So that means maybe some Democrats have swung over. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to stay encouraged considering when I first entered the race some people were saying I would only get 15 percent.”
Lewis was even more confident, despite having some of the lowest numbers in the poll. The independent candidate said he expects to gain a significant number of voters by Election Day.
"The fat lady has not sang yet," Lewis said. "Brian, he’s topped out about as far as he’s going to go. There just aren’t enough Republican voters for Brian to have a shot. But we need the shoe to drop. I just cannot believe people will vote for a crook. I believe I can still win this."
The 2nd District has been a lock for Democrats, and in the 2010 general election, Jackson coasted to easy victory with 80 percent of the vote. The latest poll suggests the 17-year congressman's support among voters, while strong, has waned a bit this year in the face of his various problems, which include:
- depression, a bipolar disorder diagnosis and hospitalization at the Mayo Clinic;
- an FBI investigation of Jackson's possible use of campaign funds to decorate his Washington, D.C., home;
- continuing questions about the congressman's role in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's effort to sell or trade the state's U.S. Senate seat in 2008, accompanied by a House ethics probe;
- revelations about his marital infidelity.
We Ask America's automated poll of 819 voters in the 2nd Congressional District, with a margin of error of ±3.5 percent, was conducted Sunday evening, Oct. 21.
A slim majority, 55 percent, say they are happy with the field of candidates when asked "Do you agree or disagree with this statement: I am happy with the candidates on the ballot, I do not wish someone else was running instead."
Jackson was challenged in the Democratic primary by former congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, but Jackson won with more than two-thirds of the vote.
Jackson polls strongly among women and African Americans, but his support among men, whites and Hispanics is much lower, according to the poll.
- 65 percent of all women favor Jackson, but only 40 percent of men do; 35 percent of the men chose Woodworth and 16 percent select Lewis.
- 81 percent of all African Americans would cast their vote for Jackson
- among likely white voters, 54 percent opt for Woodworth and 14 percent for Lewis; only 32 percent of whites would send Jackson back to Congress.
- the Hispanic vote favors Jackson by 40 percent.
Of those polled, 62 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 18 percent said they were Republicans and 11 percent said they were independent voters.
Among independent voters, 62 percent opposed Jackson, with 41 percent picking Woodworth and 21 percent Lewis; 38 percent of independents selected Jackson.
2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT POLL RESULTS
Choice for Congress
Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) Brian Woodworth (R) Marcus Lewis (I) ALL VOTERS 58% 27% 15% WOMEN ONLY 65% 21% 13% MEN ONLY 49% 35% 16% AFRICAN AM.ONLY 81% 8% 11% ASIANS ONLY 71% 21% 8% HISPANIC ONLY 40% 33% 27% WHITE ONLY 32% 54% 14%
Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with this statement: “I am happy with the congressional candidates on the ballot. I do not wish someone else was running instead.”
AGREE DISAGREE ALL VOTERS 55% 45% WOMEN ONLY 59% 41% MEN ONLY 50% 50% AFRICAN AM.ONLY 69% 31% ASIANS ONLY 57% 43% HISPANIC ONLY 50% 50% WHITE ONLY 43% 57%
Poll type: Automated; Date: October 21, 2012
Participants: 819 Likely Voters - Margin of Error: ± 3.5%