WASHINGTON — David Gill has a 9 percentage point lead among likely voters in the 13th Congressional District race, according to a poll paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
But the campaign of Republican Rodney Davis said Tuesday that its polling gives Davis a 43 percent to 39 percent lead over Gill. The Davis poll, taken by the Virginia firm Public Opinion Strategies, was of 400 likely voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent, putting Davis' lead within the margin of error.
The Republican poll gives independent John Hartman of Edwardsville a 10 percent share of the vote, and says that 8 percent are undecided.
The DCCC poll, taken last Thursday through Sunday by the Washington-based firm Anzalone Liszt Research, showed Gill with a 48 percent to 39 percent advantage. That is well outside the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.89 percentage points.
Neither campaign released significant details of its polling data, but the 9-point gap is a far bigger margin than any previous polling found.
An earlier Anzalone Liszt poll of the race, taken in September but never released publicly, reportedly showed the race a tie at 41 percent. And an earlier Public Opinion Strategies poll, taken in early October, also showed the race a tie. An August poll for the Gill campaign by Victoria Research gave the Democrat a 6-point lead, but all polls since have showed a narrower margin. A We Ask America poll of 1,253 likely voters earlier this month gave Davis a small lead.
The DCCC says the new poll detects a major improvement for Gill, an emergency room physician from Bloomington, in the congressional district that runs from Champaign-Urbana southwest to the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.
The DCCC said the new poll gave Gill a 41-31 lead among independent voters, and that his share of the vote had grown in both the St. Louis and Champaign-Springfield-Decatur TV markets where the DCCC has spent more than $1.7 million, most of it on television ads attacking Davis. The DCCC did not release information on the percentage of those undecided, or the share that went to independent Hartman.
But the Davis campaign said momentum now is with Davis, since his numbers have improved over the last few weeks. Their poll also found, they claimed, that among the 42 percent of voters who have an opinion of both candidates, Davis has an 8-percentage-point lead.
Davis is the DCCC's No. 3 target nationally, according to figures complied by the web site OpenSecrets.org. The DCCC's top target so far is U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, a Republican in California, where the DCCC has spent $1.96 million.
Gill, on the other hand, ranks only in the top 30 among targets of the National Republican Campaign Committee, which has spent about $1.1 million on ads attacking him. Overall, though, other groups and superPACs are working against Gill and have spent more than $1.8 million in the effort.
Debate tonight. The first debate among the three 13th District candidates will be held tonight in Springfield and will be broadcast live on WICD-TV Channel 15 as well as on WICS-TV in Springfield.
The debate among Davis, Gill and Hartman is sponsored by the Citizens Club of Springfield and the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Although Gill and Davis debated last week at Illinois State University in Springfield, Hartman was not invited to that forum.
Tonight's hour-long debate will be held at the Hoogland Center in Springfield at 7 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served and doors will open at 6:15.
Vermilion County forum. A candidate forum featuring many of the legislative candidates running for office in Vermilion County will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Village Mall in Danville. The forum also will be broadcast live on WDAN-AM.
Among the participants will be 52nd Senate District candidates Mike Frerichs and John Bambenek, both of Champaign, and 104th House District candidates Chad Hays of Catlin and Michael Langendorf of Urbana. State representative candidate John Harms of Watseka also will attend.