In Illinois where two-thirds of voters say this year’s midterm elections are very important and nearly six in ten perceive the election to be a check on President Donald Trump, the Democrats have a 17-point advantage over the Republicans in the generic ballot question. Women and white voters with a college degree prominently factor into the Democrats’ lead.
66% of Illinois voters consider this year’s midterm elections to be very important. Most key demographic groups perceive the election to be serious especially Democrats where 83% view the midterms as very important. There is one exception. Among voters under the age of 30, only 44% say November’s elections are significant.
Impressions of President Trump loom large against the electoral backdrop. 57% of voters statewide say their vote will send a message that more Democrats are needed to serve as a check on the power of President Trump. 32% report their ballot will signal more Republicans are needed to push through the Trump agenda.
A 22-point gender gap exists on this question. Both women (62% to 27%) and men (51% to 38%) think congressional Democrats need to balance Trump’s power, but women are more likely than men to have this view.
Also of note, nearly six in ten white voters with a college degree (59% to 28%) say their vote will indicate the need to check presidential power. 51% of white voters without a college degree say their vote will signal more Republicans are needed to advance the Trump agenda. 38% think Trump’s executive power needs to be checked by voting in more Democrats.
“President Trump is casting a long shadow over this November’s elections in Illinois,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Dark clouds are forming over the GOP. Democrats are definitely more energized outpacing Republican enthusiasm by 21 points.”
President Trump’s approval rating stands at 31% among Illinoisans with 19% saying they strongly approve of the job the president is doing. 56% disapprove with 43% saying they strongly do so. Trump’s favorable score is also upside down (30% to 60%) among residents statewide.
Nearly half of Illinois voters (49%) say they prefer Democratic control of Congress rather than Republican control (35%). Those opinions closely reflect the generic ballot question where 52% report they are more likely to support the Democratic candidate in their district. 35% favor the Republican candidate.
On the question of congressional control, a 19-point gender gap exists. Women favor Democratic control by 24 points (54% to 30%). Men express the same preference (44% to 39%) but by only a five-point margin. White voters divide (43% for Democratic control and 42% for Republican), and education matters. 54% of white voters with a college degree want the Democrats in power. 49% without a college education prefer Republican control.
Similarly, on the generic ballot question there is a 15-point gender gap. Women are more likely to support the Democratic candidate over the Republican (57% to 32%) by 25 points. Men are more likely to do so as well but by only 10 points (47% to 37%).
More than one in four Illinois voters (27%) tell the NBC News/Marist Poll that the economy and jobs is the most important issue in deciding their vote this November. Health care (19%), immigration (14%), and federal taxes and spending follow (11%). Responses for guns (7%), abortion (6%), and foreign policy and terrorism (4%) are in single digits. One in three Republicans (33%) and nearly three in ten independents (29%) cite jobs and the economy as the most important factor. Health care (25%) is the main motivating issue for Democrats followed closely by jobs and the economy (21%). When asked to provide their second most important issue, the economy and jobs (20%) and health care (20%) remain top of mind for Illinois voters.
A plurality of Illinoisans (42%) say raising tariffs and barriers to imports from other countries will do more to raise the costs of consumer goods and hurt the U.S. economy. 23% think the increase will do more to protect jobs and help the U.S. economy while 20% believe they will not have any impact.
In the Illinois governor’s race, Democrat J.B. Pritzker (46%) leads Republican incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner (30%) by 16 points among registered voters statewide. Support for Libertarian Kash Jackson (6%) and Constitution Party candidate Sam McCann (4%) is in single digits. 13% are undecided.
Among voters with a candidate preference for Illinois governor, 35% strongly support their choice. Similar proportions of Pritzker’s (36%) and Rauner’s (38%) supporters say they are strongly committed to their candidate selection.
Rauner’s favorable rating is upside down. Twice the proportion of Illinois adults have an unfavorable view (52%) of Rauner than have a favorable (26%) one. 22% have either never heard of Rauner or do not know how to rate him.
38% have a favorable opinion of Pritzker. 35% have an unfavorable one, and more than one in four (27%) have either never heard of Pritzker or are unsure how to rate him.