Jesse Jackson Jr still favorite in congressional race, amid medical leave

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CHICAGO –With less than two weeks left until election day, embattled U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. still tops off as the favorite in a recent poll conducted by We Ask America.

While premature reports circulated early Sunday about Jackson’s return to the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic for tests, by Sunday evening, 58 percent of likely voters in the heavily democratic  2nd Congressional District polled had already pictured him back in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The poll placed Republican challenger Brian Woodworth second, as the favorite of 27 percent of those voters, while 15 percent chose Independent Marcus Lewis.

On Sunday evening We Ask America conducted the automated poll, which has a margin of error of ±3.5 percent, according to the group. “As with all our polls this late in election season, we force participants to make a choice–no “undecided,” We Ask America said when results went public Monday.

Out of the 819 likely voters polled, 62 percent self-identified as Democrats, 18 percent said they were Republicans and 11 percent said they were independent voters.

The poll showed that Jackson was also the favorite of 81 percent of African Americans polled, 71 percent of Asians polled, 40 percent of Hispanics polled and 32 percent of whites polled. Jackson is a favorite among women, with 65 percent saying they would vote for him, while 49 percent of men chose him. Fifty-four percent of white voters polled said they would vote for Republican challenger Brian Woodworth.

Just over half, 55 percent, of voters polled said they are happy with the choice of candidates when asked “Do you agree or disagree with this statement: I am happy with the candidates on the ballot, I do not wish someone else was running instead.” During primary elections in February, Jackson won over challenger Debbie Halvorson with more than two-thirds of the vote.

Among women, 59 percent agreed, while exactly half of men agreed. Sixty-nine percent of African Americans agreed, followed by 57 percent of Asians and half of Hispanic voters. Among white voters, 57 percent said they were not happy with the candidates on the ballot.

On Saturday, Jackson  gave his first public message in four months in a recorded message to his 2nd Congressional District in which he asked for constituents’ patience and said he was anxious to get back to work. He did not give a timeline for his return, nor has his campaign representatives, congressional representatives or father, civil rights leader and former presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson. The elder Jackson confirmed Sunday that his son wound be returning to the Mayo Clinic for tests.