The Republican primary is less than 10 weeks away. Republican hopeful Jeanne Ives is facing off against incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner. An early poll by Illinois Review shows that while Ives has an uphill battle ahead of her, she is off to a strong start. The poll, conducted January 8 on Facebook, shows Ives to have a three to one advantage over Rauner among likely Republican primary voters.
As polling season gets underway, it is important to remember the issues that come with polls, especially online:
- The sample size was relatively small, at just 327. Smaller sample sizes can give inaccurate results. A sample size of 200 has a 7.1 percent margin of error, and a sample size of 1000 still has a 3.2 percent margin of error.
- How the poll was conducted also matters. A Facebook poll will always exclude people who don’t use Facebook. Facebook also requires you to use your own name, which can have a chilling effect on political speech.
- The poll was public. While it is easy to assume only Republicans in Illinois read Illinois Review on Facebook, that may or may not be true.
These are issues inherent to online polling and polling in general, not just Illinois Review. If the 2016 election taught us anything, it’s that even the best polls should always be taken with a grain of salt.
For more information on the candidates for governor, check out our campaign headquarters. The primary is March 20.
Libertarians visit Jacksonville, plan for the debate circuit
Last weekend most of the Libertarian statewide candidates came to Jacksonville for a meet and greet. Hosted by the Morgan County Libertarians, the event was a chance to meet with voters, as well as discuss their recent ballot access victory and the challenges of getting into the debate circuit.
As we reported last week, the main slate of Libertarian candidates did not face a ballot petition challenge. Comptroller candidate Claire Ball credited the behind the scenes workers who helped ensure that the approximately 48,000 signatures they submitted were valid. Not being challenged ensures that the full slate will show up on the November ballot.
The lack of a challenge also helps save resources for campaigning. Ball explained that in addition to the monetary fees, the largest cost of contesting a challenge is time. Getting volunteers to sit with the Board of Elections judges to sift through the signatures takes a huge number of man hours. For a smaller party like the Libertarians, sending volunteers to Springfield is a real burden. Additionally, fundraising during a challenge is more difficult. People are far more reluctant to donate when a candidate may not appear on the ballot.
Preparing for the debates
But the institutional struggles for the third parties are still not over. The next challenge is getting into the major debates. Traditionally, third parties get stuck in a coverage loop. Because they have less initial name recognition, they poll lower than candidates for the two major parties. Low poll numbers are used to justify keeping them out of the early debates. Without the exposure and credibility that those debates bring, their poll numbers remain low. This, in turn, is used to keep them out of later debates.
This year there are two third parties fielding candidates for governor. In addition to Kash Jackson from the Libertarians, State Senator Sam McCann is running with the Conservative Party. With two candidates having passed the initial hurdle to get on the ballot, it may be easier for both of them to get into the debate circuit. Democratic candidate JB Pritzker has already signaled his willingness to have McCann at the debates. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has not yet commented on if the third parties should be included.
Gubernatorial candidates aren’t the only ones trying to get into a debate. Comptroller candidate Claire Ball, Secretary of State candidate Steve Dutner, and Attorney General candidate Bubba Harsy also expressed interest in a formal debate with their established party counterparts. It isn’t clear if they will be invited to the debates, or if there will be debates for these offices.
You can learn more about all of the statewide candidates on our Campaign Headquarters page.
McCann, Libertarians avoid petition objections
Two of the major third party challengers in the race for governor cleared another hurdle yesterday, as the window to challenge a candidate’s petition signatures closed. Neither McCann of the Conservative Party nor Kash Jackson of the Libertarians will face a petition challenge. This ensures both new parties will show up on the ballot in November. Most of the Green, Libertarian, and Independent candidates for Congress or the General Assembly were not so fortunate.
Candidates are required to turn in a certain number of signatures to get on the ballot. Because not every signature will pass muster, they are allowed to turn in two to three times as many as they need (depending on the office). Rivals will often challenge the petition signatures if they believe that a candidate failed to turn in enough valid signatures. After an investigation process, a candidate can be struck from the ballot if they lack the necessary number.
Even if a candidate is eventually vindicated, dealing with a challenge is both expensive and time consuming. Both Jackson and McCann took the same approach to avoid one, and turned in far more signatures than needed. An independent running for statewide office needs a minimum of 25,000 valid signatures. The Libertarians turned in nearly 48,000 signatures; McCann reportedly gathered some 65,000 signatures. Because they ran as a slate, all of the Libertarian statewide candidates also avoided a challenge.
To learn more about the candidates for governor, check out our Campaign Headquarters page.
Third parties and independents file for ballot access
Today was the last day for Libertarians, Greens, other new parties, and independent candidates to get on the general election ballot. In addition to filing later in the season, these candidates must gather substantially more signatures than their established party counterparts. But despite these hurdles, candidates from several new parties made their way to the Board of Elections to get on the ballot.
The Libertarian Party was the only new party to field a full slate. Led by gubernatorial candidate Grayson “Kash” Jackson, the Libertarians ran candidates for all of the statewide offices. Last year the party won a major legal victory to abolish the full-slate rules, which required new parties to run candidates for every office. However, cautious of a last-minute appeal, they chose to run as a slate.
One candidate of local note did choose to take advantage of the new rules. Sen. Sam McCann (I-50) filed for governor on the Conservative Party ticket. McCann was formerly a member of the Republican Party and caucus. A small number of Green, Libertarian, and independent candidates also filed in congressional and General Assembly races across the state.
While getting on the ballot today is hard enough, staying on the ballot can be another challenge. Petitions can be challenged by opponents. In addition to the normal issues with petitions being unreadable or having unregistered names, petitions for independents cannot be passed by anyone who passed a petition for an established party earlier in the election season. If enough petitions are ruled invalid, the candidate will be removed from the ballot. All of the candidates who filed today will likely be challenged.