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Lipinski looks strong, poll says

By Ray Hanania

A new poll released by the campaign of Congressman Dan Lipinski shows him leading in the 3rd Congressional District in his bid to win the Democratic Party’s nomination and hold his congressional seat.

Lipinski, who has held the office since being appointed to succeed his father, Bill Lipinski, in 2005, is facing challenges from progressive Democrat Marie Newman, who came within 2,200 votes of unseating the conservative Reagan Democrat in 2018.

The poll was conducted by the political media consulting firm Expedition Strategies, which has offices in Colorado, Alabama, Virginia and Washington, D.C., where they manage a wide range of clients, and compared Lipinski to Newman and newcomers Rush Darwish and Charles Hughes.

But the poll has flaws, inaccurately weighing the district’s significant Arab and Muslim vote. More than 10,000 Arab American and Muslim Americans are registered and have voted in past elections. Most Arab American voters are expected to support Darwish because of Lipinski’s failures to address Arab American and Muslim concerns.

The Expedition Strategies poll, released by the Lipinski campaign, shows Lipinski leading with 47 percent of the vote based on 500 total interviews with voters in the district conducted between Jan. 7 and Jan. 9, 2020. Newman received only 25 percent of the vote, Darwish only 2 percent and Hughes only 1 percent.

The poll shows there are more than 26 percent who are undecided in the race, and the poll has a plus-or-minus margin of error of 4 percent.

Although polls are little more than a barometer of an election at any given time, Lipinski’s candidacy is bolstered by Darwish’s entrance into the race, drawing away Arab and Muslim voters who mostly cast support for Newman in the 2018 Democratic Primary election in which she came within 2,200 votes, out of a total of 95,205 votes, of defeating the incumbent. The election came during the traditional “opposition party surge” that follows two years after a President wins the White House where the opposition party always takes the House and Senate.

Newman has been a powerful contender, but her primary weakness is she is more popular outside of the 3rd Congressional District, receiving endorsements of progressive Democrats like former Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky in 2018. Schakowsky endorsed Newman again this year.

Lipinski leads in campaign finance donations, but because of strong support from Arab Americans, Darwish is doing very well. According to campaign finance disclosure documents, Lipinski has more than $1 million including $425,000 spend so far in this election. Marie Newman has over $900,000 including $368,000 spent on this election. Rush Darwish has raised $423,000 including $105,000 spent in this election.

Lipinski is criticized for conservative leanings. But the 3rd District, while Democratic, has always been conservative-leaning where many Democratic voters are actually “Reagan Democrats” – Democrats who lean towards Republicans on the national level but support Democrats in local races. Republicans in Cook County are a vanishing phenomenon.

More than 57,000 voters supported neo-Nazi Holocaust denier Art Jones in the November 2018 election. Lipinski received more than 163,000 votes. Why did Jones do so well? Censorship is the problem and many voters just don’t know who he is.

Darwish has been targeted by the biased mainstream news media, which is traditionally biased against Arab and Muslim views. Darwish is a moderate Palestinian American activist who, in the past, has spoken out publicly against anti-Semitism, despite the Chicago Sun-Times attacks.

The other factor is that nearly every poll taken prior to the November 2016 election showed Trump losing the election, a conclusion driven by mainstream news media bias and prejudices. So can you trust this poll? Darwish will probably do better and maybe break the 10 percent. But Darwish’s campaign isn’t as effective as it could be, based on my 45 years of covering Chicagoland politics and elections.

Newman, on the other hand, has run a powerful campaign. But, Darwish almost certainly dooms her chances of winning.

Of course, most mainstream voters won’t turn their attention o the race until four weeks before the election. That’s when the campaigning really counts. Darwish can turn things around if he can come up with an issue that resonates with mainstream voters. Newman needs to do the same. The issues raised so far are predictable and won’t change any minds that are already set.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning syndicated columnist who covered Chicago City Hall for nearly two decades “from Daley to Daley.” Read more of his columns and download his podcasts by visiting Hanania.com. You can read Ray Hanania’s online book “Midnight Flight” by visiting SuburbanChicagoland.com. Email him at [email protected])

Ray Hanania’s column is just a fraction of the content that appears in this week’s print edition of the Greater Southwest News-Herald. Want to get the all the news? Pick up the Greater Southwest News-Herald on local newsstands for just 75 cents a copy. For greater savings and convenience, call (708) 496-0265 during weekday business hours and order a subscription by mail, delivered each week to your home or business.

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