Hare, Schilling spar over results of private poll

Eric Timmons

Congressman Phil Hare, D-Rock Island, has refused to release the results of two polls his campaign conducted locally in February, despite a challenge from his Republican rival to do so.

Hare’s campaign spent $30,000 on the two private polls, according to a financial report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Republican Bobby Schilling this week challenged Hare to release the results of the polls. Schilling, who hopes to unseat Hare in the November District 17 congressional election, believes the polls will show that Hare is politically vulnerable because of his support for the Democratic administration’s “liberal agenda.”

“Rep. Hare spent $30,000 of his constituents’ donations on two polls in early February, and I challenge him to release the results, good or bad, within the next 48 hours,” Schilling said in a statement released Tuesday. “I am confident the poll numbers will show that Hare is politically weak due to his support of the Obama, Pelosi liberal agenda that is out-of-step with the hardworking taxpayers of Illinois.”

Hare conducted polls on Feb. 12 and 19. Schilling said he wanted to know “especially in regard to health care” if Hare had “voted in line with the will of his constituents.”

But Hare’s office brushed off Schilling’s challenge to release the results of the polls.

“If Mr. Schilling wants a poll of the district, he can purchase one himself,” Tim Schlittner, Hare’s communications director said. “All I will say is that we were very pleased with the results.”

Schilling has been a vocal critic of health care reform and has promised to work to repeal the bill if elected and has used his opposition to the bill to rally support among conservatives. However, his campaign manager said Bobby Schilling actually agrees with large parts of the reform package.

Terry Schilling said the campaign supports stopping insurers from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions from receiving coverage and also supports allowing children to stay on their parents plans for longer.

Those are two popular parts of the bill that show the fine line Schilling will have to tread between placating angry conservatives without alienating the independent voters he will need to defeat Hare.

The Colona Republican’s task remains an uphill battle in a congressional district that has sent a Democrat to congress in every election since 1983.