Despite absence, Jesse Jackson Jr. holds big lead in House race

Despite a prolonged leave of absence while he grapples with bipolar disorder, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is strongly favored for reelection, according to a poll released Monday.

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Jackson held a 58-to-27 percent lead over Republican challenger Brian Woodworth in the survey from WeAskAmerica. Independent challenger Marcus Lucas carried 15 percent of those surveyed.

Jackson's lead came primarily from his district's large African-American population; more than eight in 10 black respondents said they planned to vote for the congressman. Jackson's district, on the South Side of Chicago, is heavily Democratic, with 81 percent of voters backing President Obama in 2008.

The nine-term congressman announced in June that he was taking a leave of absence for "exhaustion," but later disclosed he was suffering from bipolar disorder. On Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jackson, who had been staying at his home in Washington, D.C., after undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, would return to the treatment facility.

The survey of 819 voters in Illinois's 2nd district carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.


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