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One month from the November 6th election, Governor Bruce Rauner faces a steep, uphill climb for re-election, according to the latest Illinois Poll. If it wasn’t before, the 2018 Illinois Governor election has turned into a referendum on Rauner’s four years in office. According to the poll, the Governor is beset by not only a large deficit in the head to head contest with his Democratic opponent, but also by low personal favorability ratings, low job approval, a relatively poor showing by the rest of the statewide Republican ticket, still tepid support among self-identified conservative voters (54.2%) and that voters choices are beginning to be set in stone. In addition, Rauner cannot expect to be helped by President Trump, who has exactly the same low favorability rating as Rauner (35.2%).
Democratic challenger JB Pritzker has a lead of nearly 16 points over the incumbent Republican Governor with a month to go before the November 6th election, according to the poll. Pritzker leads Rauner 47-4% to 31.5%. Third-party candidates Conservative Sam McCann and Libertarian Kash Jackson received 7.3% and 6.1% respectively, according to the poll, while 7.6% are undecided.
The support for both McCann and Jackson appears to hurt Rauner’s chances to win more than Pritzker’s, according to the poll. Those who chose the third-party candidates are largely self-identified conservative or Republican voters who traditionally vote for the Republican candidate. Nearly 23% of Republican voters chose McCann (14.6%) or Jackson (8.3%). Only 2.8% of Democratic voters chose one of the third party candidates.
The poll of 1208 likely Illinois general election voters was conducted September 27-October 2nd, 2018. The margin of error is 2.8%. The poll was conducted by live callers and answered on both land lines (637) and cell phones (571).
Since 2001, Victory Research has conducted a semi-monthly statewide poll called The Illinois Poll. Victory Research does not have a client in the Illinois Governor’s race. Victory Research’s website iswww.illinoispoliticsblog.com.
The poll highlights other problems for the Republican Governor. Perhaps the Governor’s biggest path to re-election is that a large majority of voters have already made their minds up in the Governor’s race.
After making a choice among the Governor candidates, voters were asked, “Would you say your mind is made up, or is there still a chance you could change your mind,” fully 82.5% of voters said they have made their mind up on their choice for Governor, with no chance to change their mind. Of the Governor’s supporters, 92.1% have made their mind up, while 94.2% of those who chose Pritzker have made up their mind. There is some room for movement among the third-party candidates, the poll shows. Of those who chose Conservative candidate Sam McCann in the poll, 62.5% have made their mind up while 37.5% say they could change their mind, while only 43.2% of Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson’s voters have definitely made their mind up, while 56.8% could change their mind.
Combined with those who say they are undecided in the race, those who haven’t definitely made up their mind totals 17.5%. With a sixteen point deficit, barring some new bombshell information that jars some of Pritzker’s support loose, Governor Rauner needs to nearly run the table among those voters in order to win the election, according to the poll.
Another hurdle to re-election for Governor Rauner is his low favorable rating and his low “re-elect” number. On both questions, the Govenor’s numbers are under water. Combining voters who have a strongly favorable and a favorable opinion of the Governor, his approval rating stands at 35.2%, while his disapproval rating (unfavorable + strongly unfavorable) stands at 56%.
On the re-elect question, only 35.8% of likely voters say he “deserves another term in office,” according to the poll. 58.3% of likely voters say that Rauner does not deserve another term in office, while 5.9% say they are undecided on the question. Rauner is also hampered by relatively weak showings by the rest of the Republican candidates on the statewide ticket.
Of the other statewide offices, only the Attorney General campaign is competitive, according to the poll. Democrat State Senator Kwame Raoul leads Republican candidate Erika Harold by nearly eleven points (44.2-33.4%). Libertarian candidate Bubba Harsy receives 4.5% while eighteen percent are undecided.
Incumbent Secretary of State Jesse White leads the Democratic ticket with 64.4%, according to the poll. Republican candidate Jason Helland receives 20.1%. Libertarian candidate Steve Dutner receives 1.9% of the vote while 13.6% are undecided.
Incumbent Comptroller Susana Mendoza leads her Republican challenger former State Senator Darlene Senger by a nearly two-to-one margin (51.9%-25.9%). Libertarian candidate Claire Ball receives 7.6% while 14.6% are undecided, according to the poll.
Incumbent Treasurer Michael Frerichs has a nearly fifteen point lead over his Republican challenger Jim Dodge (43.5%-28.6%). Libertarian candidate Michael Leheney received 5.6% of the vote, while 22.4% are undecided, according to the poll.