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*** UPDATED x1 *** Poll shows Rauner movement

Monday, Jul 8, 2013

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column ran last week, but we were closed last week so you didn’t get to see it

Back in early February, not a single person mentioned Bruce Rauner in a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll of who likely Republican primary election voters liked as a candidate for governor.

Other polls since then have shown Rauner, a retired financier, drawing support in the low single digits in his bid for governor.

But Rauner has been dumping money into downstate TV, the Fox News Channel in the Chicago area and Chicago and downstate radio. As a result, he appears to be moving some numbers.

A Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll taken June 20 of 1,310 likely Republican gubernatorial primary voters found Rauner at 12 percent. The poll was taken almost two weeks after Rauner began running ads.

Twelve percent was enough for third place. It’s tough at this point to gauge just where Rauner’s ceiling is. He could zoom way up like the unknown wealthy candidate Jack Ryan did in the 2004 Republican U.S. Senate primary, taking over first place in January and never relinquishing it.

Or Rauner could top out like Ron Gidwitz did in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary. Like Rauner, Gidwitz started running TV ads in July 2005 and spent millions, but after an early rise he stopped moving and ended up at just 11 percent.

Rauner’s “angry outsider” and anti-union messages may play well with the GOP base, but he also has pro-choice leanings, won’t say where he stands on gay marriage and has close ties to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — none of which will be loved by conservative Republicans. If any of his competitors exploit those weaknesses, Rauner’s rise could be stopped in its tracks.

Also, just 700,000 to 800,000 people tend to vote in GOP primaries, so the party’s old guard tends to have a significant say in the outcome. And, right now, the old guard is mostly with state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale).

But the poll has Dillard just barely in last place of the four gubernatorial candidates tested. However, pollster Gregg Durham cautioned against reading too much into the results.

“There isn’t a single result in here that I would consider as a trend, indication of strength or hint of weakness,” Durham said after he conducted the poll. “It’s just too early.”

And with the poll’s margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent, it’s impossible to say for sure that Dillard is in fourth place.

The poll has Treasurer Dan Rutherford ahead with 22 percent, state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) second with 18 percent, Rauner at 12 percent and Dillard with 11 percent. A significant 38 percent said they were undecided.

Rutherford has carefully built a statewide campaign infrastructure for the past two decades, culminating in 2010 with his election as state treasurer. Brady is on his third race for governor, and his name recognition is still pretty strong after his 2010 loss to Gov. Pat Quinn. Dillard has been a state party fixture for years and lost to Brady by less than 200 votes in the 2010 Republican primary.

Except for Rauner, it’s difficult to tell at this point how the candidates are doing with their fundraising. Most candidates in both parties are taking advantage of an obscure but important state law that allows them to hold off reporting contributions until after they deposit the checks.

Until they start spending money in a big way and need that cash immediately, we won’t be able to track most candidate fundraising between quarterly finance reports. Rauner needs access to his cash because he’s spending so much.

Dillard is reportedly telling people that he’s on track to raise $200,000 to $300,000 this quarter, while Rutherford apparently plans to report $1 million in the bank at the end of the quarter. But beyond that, we really don’t know what’s going on.

Also, Rauner has been careful not to go above the $250,000 quarterly ceiling for self-funding of a campaign, which would break the contribution caps for all candidates running for governor.

State law is a bit vague on whether a busted cap in one primary election would apply to the other. The executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections told me last month that his interpretation of the law is that if a candidate in one party busts the cap, then candidates in all parties for that particular office are no longer constrained by the cap.

The poll, by the way, had Rutherford ahead in downstate counties and in suburban Cook County, while Brady led in the suburban collar counties and Chicago.

Subscribers have full crosstabs.

*** UPDATE *** From a press release…

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner announced today that his campaign raised more than $915,000 in the second quarter fundraising period, bringing his total campaign fundraising to more than $2.2 million.

* Related…

* Rauner, Daley raise big money in 2nd quarter

* Governor candidate Rauner stops in Peru

* Cook County health foundation snags gift from Rauner

* Nunda Township GOP to host governor candidate

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 9:37 am:

    –The poll, by the way, had Rutherford ahead in downstate counties and in suburban Cook County, while Brady led in the suburban collar counties and Chicago.–

    That’s interesting, if a bit counter-intuitive. But it’s way early.

    Rauner is all over Internet news sites (not Cap Fax) with banner ads. Hitting every cliche in the book: “It’s our turn,” “Shake up Springfield,” “Bring back Illinois” and then something about the “Quinn-Madigan Machine” and “The man politicians fear…”

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 9:47 am:

    The proof will be in the pudding come the time when Rauner needs specifics and not catchy internet headers. Bashing everyone to be “different” is great, but the Rauner Crew must realize that some plans to “fix” Illinois seem half-baked when put up against that pesky Constitution Illinois has.

    As for Dillard and Brady and their money woes, news flash, it is not going to get easier as the days fly by.

    I will really look forward to these candidates choosing their running mates and State Fair time. This race is still in flux, and that helps Rauner, “today”

  3. - PublicServant - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    Rich, can you provide a little background on who supported placing the loophole currently being exploited into the campaign finance bill? Not who voted for it overall, but who engineered the inclusion of the “loophole” basically neutering the intent of the law.

  4. - Charlatan Heston - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    Welcome back…hope you had a great week off and holiday Rich. I don’t know much about Rauner but Daley is to date underwhelming. I can’t see the recent Bloomberg endorsement helping Daley. Thoughts?

  5. - walkinfool - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 10:43 am:

    Hearing a lot about Daley in the NW burbs.

    Brought up Rauner twice this weekend, with some well-to-do Conservatives, and no one heard of him without a reminder. “You mean Daley, the banker?” one guy said.

    Surprised me.

  6. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 10:44 am:

    Money clearly buys name recognition at this stage of the game. As you’ve reported previously, other wealthy candidate have bought themselves 15-20% without too much trouble. It’s kind of like fundraising. The early $$ is the easiest money to get. What comes next is the real question.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    - walkinfool -,

    Never got the chance to thank you for the really kind words you posted about me. Thank you, appreciate that. I am on your debt.

    To the Post,

    Of the three not named Rauner, the question also remains who is the best organized, today, and of those 3, which will be able to compete with a Ground attack to counter Rauner’s paid air assault? Can’t wait, until its too late…

  8. - walkinfool - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    O’Willy: You’re right that a lot of cool-sounding general “fixes” are half-baked in the harsh light of reality. But constitutional arguments, budget realities, or even arithmetic, won’t impact many people’s perspectives.

    Most voters are not into such technicalities. They’re more into “Does this person sound like he or she knows what to do?”

    They’ll usually buy the big, juicy burger, horsemeat and all.

  9. - pizzajohnny - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    Right now it looks like Rauner and three yawn inducers. I’ll take the businessman with undeclared stances on gay marriage and abortion rights.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 11:10 am:


    My thought was to the other 3 candidates, and if they can make those arguments stick against Rauner, not the idea that those factors on their own will be enough.

    Can the other three make the case that Rauner does not sound like the guy who can fix things, and make that stick.


  11. - walkinfool - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 11:35 am:


  12. - Wumpus - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    I had a Rauner movement this morning. I flushed it immediately.

  13. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    “anti-union messages may play well with the GOP base”

    Rauner’s a genius. His policies would certainly help Illinois and help close the massive wealth gap between the top few and everyone else.

    He would be the politician to also close the huge gap between productivity and wages. He has a great small-government model to follow in Florida, where their governor signed a law that allows the state to ban local governments from enacting paid sick leave ordinances. Who needs paid sick leave? We’re a bunch of weaklings. We should be working even if we’re half-dead, just like the tough workers at the beginning of the last century.

    We will have to get raincoats due to all of the prosperity raining down upon us. Or septic suits.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 12:12 pm:

    - Grandson of Man -,

    You think for one minute the General Assembly, as constituted with Democratic majorities will agree to …any of these thoughts? Doubt it.

    Rauner is running for governor, 1/3 of Illinois government, not CEO with unchecked powers, and without working with an equal partner in leadership.

    Sounds great to run on, but to implement in practice might be tricky, at best. The Governor of Illinois is extremely powerful, but in what Rauner touts, Rauner needs a partner in the GA in a good chunk of it, and Rauner is ignoring that to feed the campaign, or honestly doesn’t understand what the job of governor entails.

  15. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    ===A significant 38 percent said they were undecided.===

    That’s the number Joe Walsh keeps repeating to himself. There is an opening for a Tea Party candidate to get into this race and Joe can bring the crazy as much or more than anyone else in Illinois. Go for it Joe. It’s now or never.

  16. - Samurai - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    =His policies would certainly help Illinois and help close the massive wealth gap between the top few and everyone else=

    I will assume the rain coat comment was hyperbole, but do tell how Mr. Rauner closes the gap.

    Regardless the disdain for politicians, it is an art and profession to craft and implement competing policy interests. Whether the art has been exercised ethically in Illinois is a different issue. However, considering Rauner’s polarizing statements and often shown lack of knowledge regarding the business of government, I have little confidence that a Rauner administration will much benefit the State, let alone close any gaps.

  17. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    Oswego Willy,

    Of course you are correct. Even with Democrats siding with the Civic Committee sometimes, and sending me an occasional email saying stuff like, “Sorry we can’t close corporate tax loopholes right now, but try again next time,” I believe that Democrats would not support his policies.

    I know a few folks who feel absolutely betrayed by Democrats. I try to be an an optimist and not share that view.

    “not CEO with unchecked powers”

    That’s what Rauner sounds like when he wants to circumvent state law and implement right-to-work in localities, and his basic anti-union stance. Shame on me for criticizing him. People like Rauner know what’s best for workers. We don’t need collective bargaining. What we need is paternalism.

  18. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    –Regardless the disdain for politicians, it is an art and profession to craft and implement competing policy interests.–

    Rauner claims to be down on politicians, but he’s dropped millions on them over the years.

    He’s down on Chicago Public Schools and teachers, but spent a bundle to clout his kid into a Chicago Public School.

    He’s down on public employee pensions, but he made a bundle off investing their funds.

    He’s a LaSalle Street hedgie, but he travels the state dressed like Mr. Haney selling the elixir for all that ails you out of the back of his truck.

    The guy is everything he claims to disdain — a wired-up, clout-heavy, long-time, political insider. He must not think what he is, really, is very attractive to the public. Or he just thinks we’re all stupid.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    Wow! Two point two million dollars…

    Is that enough dough to not let on that you are the ultimate Fraud?

    They say good Fiction pays well, I guess good Fiction can raise a good amount of money to spread it too…

  20. - DanL60 - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    ==Rauner’s “angry outsider” and anti-union messages may play well with the GOP base==

    Not. C’mon, you were laughing when you wrote that, admit it.

  21. - Wumpus - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    People always claim they don’t want the typical politician. But we usually vote for the typical politician.

  22. - votecounter - Monday, Jul 8, 13 @ 4:27 pm:

    I know Rich didn’t like to see it here but people have been trying to get Oberweis to get into the race. Looking at these numbers I can say they are correct.

  23. - ItGirl - Friday, Jul 26, 13 @ 4:33 pm:

    Rauner can buy “conservative confusion” with his internet ads but that’s about it. Once conservative voters understand his dealings with Rahm Emanuel and other Democrats. He’s toast. The only issue is how much conservative confusion can he create before he bottoms out? After all a lot of conservative voters are pretty easy to fool - but once the RINO gossip on Rauner spreads - watch Humpty Dumpty have a great fall.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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