Bobby Schilling, a Republican running for Congress in the 17th District, sent out a press release Sunday touting a poll that shows U.S. Rep. Phil Hare facing some anger from voters.
The poll, conducted by We Ask America and commissioned by Quincynews.org, showed that 47 percent of respondents would vote not to send Hare, a Democrat, back to Congress. Another 40 percent of respondents would vote for Hare and 13 percent were undecided.
Schilling, a businessman from the Quad Cities area, was not mentioned as a candidate. So this was not a heads-up poll. Gregg Durham, the pollster, said it was a generic test of voter discontent.
“I don’t think that you can tell from that poll that Mr. Hare is in trouble. I do think there’s the potential for trouble,” Durham said.
That did not keep Schilling campaign manager Bill Hanford from painting the poll as a signal that Schilling will be a formidable challenger.
“This recent poll has raised quite a bit of excitement among our campaign volunteers and supporters,” Hanford said.
Polls of this type are good ways to learn what issues are top-of-mind for likely voters. In this case, jobs is the top concern by a wide margin. Government spending and health care reform are other top issues.
Congress itself is the issue for lots of people and that bodes well for challengers. If Schilling can raise enough money to get his name recognition up and his message out, that will help against Hare. If Schilling’s fundraising isn’t so good, an incumbent, even in this tough year for incumbents, will have an advantage.