Early Poll Puts Schilling in Dead Heat in Comeback Bid

Friends of Bobby Schilling, the one-term Illinois Republican congressman who aims to win back his old seat in 2014, send along this unsurprising but pleasant bit of polling news:

A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll found Cheri Bustos is just barely ahead of the man she defeated in 2012. The poll of 1,496 likely voters taken yesterday had Bustos ahead by a single point, 45-44. The poll’s margin of error was +/- 2.68 percent, so this is anybody’s game. 22 percent of the polling universe was made up of mobile phone users.

Bustos has a three-point, 45-42 lead over Schilling among women and trails Schilling 45-48 among men. Schilling is doing better among Republicans (83 percent) than Bustos is doing among Democrats (79 percent), so the incumbent could boost her lead by focusing a little more on her base. However, Schilling leads Bustos among independents 51-34.

In 2010, Schilling beat incumbent Democratic representative Phil “I don’t care about the Constitution” Hare. Schilling did beat him, rather handily, 52 percent to 42 percent.

Then Illinois’s state legislators set out to redraw the lines of the state’s 17th congressional district, and Schilling saw his district shift dramatically: It added parts of Rockford and Peoria and lost Quincy, Decatur, and Springfield. Under the tougher lines, and with home-state President Obama at the top of the ticket, Schilling lost, 53 percent to 47 percent, to Democrat Bustos.

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