When Capitol Fax's Rich Miller ordered up a We Ask America poll on the Illinois governor's race, as well as the showdowns for comptroller and treasurer, he accidentally withheld candidates' party affiliations.
"The results came out very weird," he writes.
So he commissioned another one, identifying Gov. Pat Quinn as a Democrat and challenger Bruce Rauner as a Republican and so on, and the survey-takers' responses were vastly different than in the previous poll: It turns out omitting party labels can yield the unexpected. Given that information, however, voters are more likely to tow the party line. As Miller notes, the potent force of partisanship at the ballot box creates a "gigantic hurdle" for the GOP in blue-state Illinois.
In the increasingly heated gubernatorial battle, poll No. 1 had Rauner leading Quinn 49-38 while the second showed the two tied at 44-44. Among downstate voters, Rauner led 62-27 in the first survey and 52-33 in the follow-up questionnaire that labeled contenders' parties.
"The partisanship impact was even more clear with traditionally Democratic-leaning constituencies," notes Miller. "Rauner’s recent TV ads have featured his Democratic wife, and the first poll found that Rauner actually led Quinn among women 44-41 when women weren’t told which party he or Quinn represented. But when women did have that partisan information, they flipped big to Quinn in the second poll, 48-38."
Odd results indeed. It appears that the multimillionaire candidate's campaign spots featuring Diana Rauner might be doing well with women. At the same time, wooing female voters hard-wired to vote Democrat will require more than just a likable, humanizing other half.