U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., and Democrat Cheri Bustos both released polling data Monday they say shows they’re well positioned to win the 17th Congressional District race in November.
Schilling kicked off the duel with a new internal poll that says he’s leading Bustos by a 13-point margin. The poll, done by Public Opinion Strategies, said 50 percent of 400 likely voters in the district are backing the incumbent, and 37 percent favor Bustos.
The poll was done Aug. 8-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
That prompted the Bustos campaign to say the campaign hasn’t really begun yet, and with its Democratic leanings, the district is favorably disposed to the former hospital executive and journalist.
“Labor Day is two weeks away. This race has yet to begin,” Allison Jaslow, Bustos’ campaign manager, said in a memo.
There has been little advertising thus far in the race, and only then by a pair of independent groups.
Neither campaign is on the air yet. Both parties, however, are closely watching the contest and have reserved ad time for the fall. Both campaigns are furiously raising money, too, much of it to be spent on television.
The Schilling campaign’s poll says the congressman has a wide lead over Bustos in name identification in the newly drawn district, 84 percent to 49 percent. And in a summary, the pollster said Bustos is “quickly running out of time” to make this a serious race.
The Bustos campaign dismissed that idea.
It released a June memo from its own pollster, GBA Strategies, that says a February survey showed Bustos trailing by nine points, 44-35, even though she is less known. That poll also had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. The Bustos pollster said voters are receptive to her message and Schilling’s initial advantage is “built on sand.”
The 17th District includes the Illinois Quad-Cities and parts of Rockford and Peoria.