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Quinn isn’t the only one with serious baggage

Monday, Jul 22, 2013

* From the New York Times’ national political correspondent on the day that Lisa Madigan announced she wouldn’t be running for governor

On the surface, it sure looks that way. Gov. Quinn’s poll numbers are not good at all. But it’s not like he’s gonna just roll over and die for Daley. I wanted to see how vulnerable Daley could be to a full-on assault. So, we ran a poll.

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Gov. Pat Quinn is leading his sole Democratic primary rival, and challenger Bill Daley will have some serious problems with his blue chip résumé, according to a new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll.

The poll of 1,394 likely Democratic primary voters found Quinn leading Daley by five points, 38-33. That’s exactly where the two stood in a January poll. A June poll had Daley leading Quinn by a point, 38-37, but since then Quinn has made some popular moves, including vetoing legislative salaries out of the budget and using his veto powers to rewrite the concealed carry bill.

The most recent poll was taken July 17th, a day after Attorney General Lisa Madigan shook up the race by announcing her decision not to run for governor. It had a margin of error of +/- 2.62 percent. Cellphones made up 28 percent of those called.

28 percent of likely primary voters were undecided, suggesting that there is plenty of room for movement by either man and possibly an opening for someone else to enter the race.

According to the poll, Quinn leads among women by seven points, 38-31 and among men by two points, 40-38. Quinn has a huge 47-27 lead among African-Americans and a 45-36 lead among Latinos. Daley leads 37-35 with white Democrats. Daley leads by only a point in the suburban collar counties and by six points Downstate. Quinn has a 15-point lead in Chicago and a 9-point lead in Cook County.

But a question crafted to mimic a campaign attack shows a potentially killer Daley weakness. Daley was the Midwest chairman of JPMorgan Chase, a “too big to fail” bank when it received $25 billion in federal bailout money, according to the CNN Money website. The company also agreed to settle with the federal government on federal mortgage fraud and wrongful foreclosure charges.

Because I wanted to see how Democratic voters would react to a likely campaign attack, the question posed to them was neither fair nor balanced. Campaigns do this sort of thing all the time to see where their weaknesses are, so it’s not a radical concept by any means.

Daley has several very big negatives, according to people in both parties who have polled or focus grouped the race. His family’s Chicago legacy is one of Daley’s biggest liabilities and, I’m told, the easiest to understand. His bank’s investment in the hugely controversial Chicago parking meter deal is another big hit. Daley’s lead role in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement doesn’t play well with labor union members. But after consulting several political pros, some of whom have been, are or may eventually be involved in attacking Daley, I decided to go with a question about JPMorgan Chase.

It is, as I said, not a fair question, but with Gov. Quinn undoubtedly planning a brutal populist assault on Daley, it’s probably close to something you’ll eventually see in an ad, although I didn’t include the fact that Daley’s bank bought a fleet of new jets a few weeks after receiving its federal bailout, nor could I use faces and voices of Illinoisans who were wrongly foreclosed upon.

“Would you be more likely, or less likely to vote for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate who ran a major bank that received federal bailout money, foreclosed on large numbers of Illinois homeowners and engaged in predatory subprime mortgage lending?” voters were asked.

Unsurprisingly, that question moved the needle in a big way. According to the poll, a whopping 73 percent of Democrats were less likely to vote for the candidate. Results like that indicate the issue has major traction. Just 16 percent said it didn’t make any difference and another 11 percent said it made them more likely (possibly a negative reaction to the harsh nature of a question about a fellow party member).

The question proved “devastatingly effective,” said pollster Gregg Durham. The responses “will certainly give Mr. Quinn a political harpoon that could cause significant damage.”

Yes, Gov. Quinn has serious problems. That’s why the incumbent is only receiving the potential votes of 38 percent of his own party members. The June poll found that a mere 33 percent of Democrats approved of his job performance, for crying out loud.

Incumbents with lousy poll numbers like Quinn have no other choice but to attack, attack, attack. And Daley will definitely provide a target rich environment for the governor.

Subscribers have full crosstabs.

* Of course, Quinn won’t be the only one on the attack

“On the day after, the unemployment numbers say we’re the second-worst in the country,” Daley said of Quinn’s construction tour. “He can cut all the ribbons and dig all the shovels and govern by press conferences or stunts … but that doesn’t make for a game plan or results.”

Daley said Quinn’s method of operating is familiar. “That’s what you’ve seen in the former governor (Blagojevich), and this governor — press conferences and governing by event and stunts and stuff like that. That’s not how you govern as a governor or as a leader, and that’s why nothing gets done.” […]

“He was (Blagojevich’s) lieutenant governor for six years. He ran for re-election with him. If (Blagojevich) was so evil and bad from a policy perspective and a government perspective and bad on the political perspective … why did he run for re-election with the guy?” Daley asked, adding that Quinn has been part of 12 years of failed leadership atop Illinois government.

In October 2006, months after it was revealed that federal investigators were investigating “endemic hiring fraud” in Blagojevich’s administration, Quinn defended Blagojevich and said the then-governor has “always been a person who’s honest and one of integrity.” […]

Daley said, “(Quinn) didn’t think enough of himself or the people of Illinois to say that this (relationship) isn’t working with this governor, ‘I quit’?”


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - anon - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:24 am:

    this sure wont help the Daley brand

  2. - lake county democrat - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:28 am:

    What saved Quinn in the last Dem primary? Union support. Who is Quinn allied with in the pension reform battle? Madigan and Cullerton (i.e., vs. Emmanuel/Daley - yes, I know, Rich and many of you hate the conspiracy theory but leave that debate for another day). Who hired Madigan’s Metra guy when Clifford rejected him? Whose mayoral campaign did Quinn’s spokesperson and other administration members come from?

    My point is that this race likely may turn into a proxy war. The Madigans would rather have a republican governor than face an Emmanuel/Gov. Daley powerhouse. Comments about Daley and Chase echo the attacks of Karen Lewis about “corporate education reformers” and we’re sure to see more of them.

  3. - Roadiepig - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:28 am:

    If it does end up being just Daley and Quinn ( it seems likely now) voters will be subject to a long bloody battle that could cause voter fatigue. If ANY Republican can come to the front of the pack and does so without a similar negative campaign in their primary ,they might actually stand a chance next fall. After Blago’s won re-election with the Feds breathing down his neck I gave up predicting who the voters in Illinois will vote for though…

  4. - jerry 101 - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:32 am:

    Not surprising. Giannoulias’ family ran a little tiny failed community bank and that doomed him.

    Running a bank or financial services compnay is great way to doom one’s political aspirations.

    Bruce Rauner’s going to learn much the same.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:32 am:

    The advantage for Quinn is that his negatives have been out there a while for all the world to see and have been taken into account already.

    Daley is somewhat of a blank slate and Quinn will have the money to paint a picture of a revolving door fat cat cashing in on government connections.

    Besides JP Morgan, Daley made a big score lobbying for SBC, getting Blago to sign a bill to jack up rates after contributing $200K to his campaign and inauguration committees.

  6. - Stones - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:34 am:

    The race is going to come down to the lesser of two evils..the ineffectiveness of PQ versus the Chicago legacy of the Daley family.

  7. - B. Hicks - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    I hope Kwame jumps in…

  8. - Esquire - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    Blaming Quinn for Blagojevich is like complaining that the brakeman in the caboose is not doing enough to help the engineer in running the engine of a train.

    For much of his tenure, Blagojevich ignored Quinn completely.

  9. - jake - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    The case against Quinn is reinforced by the fact that Sheila Simon did to him exactly what he did not do to Blagojevich–decline to run with him for a second term. On the other hand, Blagojevich’s indictment during his second term was predictable to all who knew about the play-for-pay, which was everybody in Springfield, so being on Blagojevich’s ticket was a quick path to becoming Governor. During that campaign, when people asked me why vote for Blagojevich, I would say that he would not serve out his term and Quinn would be a better Governor than Topinka. It turned out I was right about the first, but might have been wrong about the second.

  10. - Annonymous - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    John Burge (another payout last week, for $10 million), Robert Sorich and all the other folks who went to jail during the Daley years, Vanecko, parking meters, staggering murder rate compared to the rest of the country, schools left in dismal shape, headline in today’s ST, “Ex-partner of Daley son owes City Hall $428K in Chicago sewer scam,” on and on and on. Hope the sleepy little shop that is Pat Quinn’s campaign operation is at least awake enough to start compiling a list of the legacy, and that they don’t proceed in the disorganized fashion that is his administration’s approach to pretty much everything.

    Also, are people really so sure Rahm wants a Daley in the gov’s spot?

  11. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    Smartest thing for everyone in the GOP is to not pile on one side or the other in this battle, keep their eyes open, get some popcorn to keep their mouths busy and hope it lasts until the last hour on primary day.

  12. - Elmira Eddie - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    Seems like the clock has turned back 38 years and the Gov. is like Dan Walker in ‘75 with Mr. Bill Daley like Mike Howlett. That primary in ‘76 was bruising for Rich the Elder thanks to Garth (David not Brooks) and your candidate barely survives the primary when time runs out, but there’s Big Jim waiting in November!

  13. - OnlyinIL - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    If Quinn can fine-tune a coherent, effective message against Daley, the advantage he will have is that he will not have to change themes should Rauner win the GOP primary. So unlike in most primaries and especially in the GOP primary, Quinn can use all his media points from the primary through the general developing a consistent theme and not wasting any time or money shifting–something Rauner will not have the luxury to do.

  14. - Responsa - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    Who’s Axelrod for?

  15. - Esquire - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 11:14 am:


    The switch on the Democratic ticket that installed Simon in the place of Scott Lee Cohen may have been a game changer. It was a tight race and I doubt that Quinn would have won with Cohen as his running mate.

  16. - Bill White - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 11:17 am:

    What platform would Bill Daley bring to the race?

    Thus far, it seems his #1 issue is to advocate for the Ty Fahner - Civic Committee - let slash pensions solution to IL problems.

    Thus far, Pat Quinn had stayed in between Cullerton and Madigan (a position some criticize); and yet

    If RNUG is correct about SB2404 being no less unconstitutional than SB1 (pending rulings from the IL Supreme Court on health benefits) then to facilitate a stalemate between the IL House and the IL Senate is the best route forward for IL public sector workers, given that Madigan & Cullerton can readily override any veto, if they would work together.

    Governor Clouseau may be holding nothing but pair of dueces versus Madigan’s four of a kind and Cullerton’s full house but thus far the SB1 people are the folks who can’t close the deal.

    = = =

    If Bill Daley’s core platform plank is to ram through SB1, I don’t think that will play well in a Democratic primary.

  17. - The Captain - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 11:18 am:

    === Who’s Axelrod for? ===

    Well his options are the guy who fired his media firm in the 2010 campaign or the guy who as White House CoS was recently his colleague so …

  18. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    As Rich and others have reported, this will be an incredibly bloody campaign. My money is still on Quinn for the primary and your poll bolsters that. But all this is doing is softening the Dem nominee up for Rutherford/Rauner who have a very decent shot of putting a Republican back in the mansion for the first time since 2002. Given what a mess Dems have made of the state, it will be amazing if the GOP can’t take advantage of this.

  19. - Keyrock - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    Elmira Eddie — sorry, but I’m not seeing anyone who can play the role of Big Jim in the GOP field.

  20. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    It’s going to be a donnybrook.

  21. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    ==staggering murder rate compared to the rest of the country==

    No, there are several cities with a higher murder rate than Chicago.

  22. - Ghost - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 12:18 pm:

    ===Given what a mess Dems have made of the state, it will be amazing if the GOP can’t take advantage of this.===

    You would think that, but when the GOP ousts leadership for supporting gays, and pushes conceal carry by dismissing concerns of voters in cook county and suburbia; GOP attacking its own canidates as being to liberal; it appears the GOP is well able to undermine itself :)

  23. - mistakes happen - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    If i had to bet, i’d say the daley/quinn/ winner will be the one who doesn’t step in it over the campaign. If neither makes a blunder Quinn wins. I’d bet on Daley.

  24. - Very Anon - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 1:25 pm:

    I should register to vote in Cook Co 8 or 9 times so I can cast more votes against Daley

  25. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 1:29 pm:


    No doubt you’re right. Republicans are astonishingly effective at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But for them to do that here, well, we’re talking ‘69 Cubs levels of incompetence.

  26. - Annonymous - Monday, Jul 22, 13 @ 4:13 pm:

    Precinct Captain: Chicago has a staggeringly high rate compared to NYC and LA. Those are the only comparisons that matter. Don’t tell us that Detroit or Gary, IN have higher rates than Chicago. Chicago’s in a a class with the former, not the later. It was bad under Daley, the point of that post, and it’s been mixed under Rahm. Hope you do better at the doors!

  27. - Grammar Guy - Tuesday, Jul 23, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    “Unpopularity” rarely translates into “anyone but.” Low numbers are abstract but any challenger always has the burden of showing why an incumbent should be ousted, and when an actual (as opposed to hypothetical) challenger emerges, voters often find the alternative is even worse than the unpopular. Hard to see where Daley gets traction amongst a Democratic primary electorate, and lake county democrat (above) makes some points.

    Meanwhile I’m still trying to figure what Daley meant by saying Quinn can “dig all the shovels.” How do you dig a shovel? Were the shovels buried? Was Daley lapsing into hippietalk? Maybe he was trying to bring up Silver Shovel, not a previous Daley administration’s finest hour. If I were Quinn, I’d dig that.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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