* The new Tribune poll shows pretty much what my polling has shown since last year, but with one big difference…
The survey showed Rauner at 40 percent support, more than his top two rivals combined. State Sen. Bill Brady pulled 20 percent and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford was at 13 percent. State Sen. Kirk Dillard had 11 percent.
Notice Treasurer Rutherford’s numbers?
All previous polling has shown Brady and Rutherford within a point or twoish of each other, even back when Rauner was trailing the pack. Rutherford trailing Brady by seven points in this new poll is not good news whatsoever.
The new Tribune poll appears to show some real damage to Rutherford. The Trib’s poll was taken Wednesday through Sunday, which means the pollster was in the field after the allegations against Rutherford surfaced.
Then again, Rauner’s two-to one lead (which We Ask America has been showing for quite a while now), is the real problem for those who don’t want to see Rauner nominated.
* The poll shows that huge numbers of voters have no opinion of or haven’t heard of three of the four candidates.
61 percent don’t have an opinion of Dillard or haven’t heard of him (49 and 12, respectively), 58 percent don’t have an opinion or never heard of Rutherford (49 and 9) and 45 percent don’t have an opinion or never heard of Brady (42 and 3).
Time definitely fades memories. And even statewide officeholders on a lower rung aren’t that well known to voters.
Rauner, however, has been running ads since last summer. He has a 48 percent favorable rating, just a 10 percent unfavorable rating, 28 percent had no opinion of him and 14 percent never heard of him, the poll found.
* Another question…
Bruce Rauner says his personal wealth makes him independent of special interests. His opponents say he is trying to buy the Republican nomination for governor. Who do you side with….Rauner or his Opponents?
* Side with Rauner 54 percent
* Side with opponents 20 percent
* Don’t know 26 percent
Dillard had complained that he was denied the Republican nomination last time because the crowded field split up his home base of support in Republican-rich DuPage County. But the poll found Rauner leading in the six-county area, which holds the bulk of the GOP primary vote, 43 percent to 18 percent for Brady. Dillard had support of 15 percent of voters in the area, while Rutherford had 11.
At the same time, Brady and Rutherford were expected to look to Downstate for a core base. While the contest tightens outside the Chicago area, the poll found that Rauner led Downstate with 35 percent to 23 percent for Brady. The poll found Rutherford had 15 percent and Dillard had 6 percent among Downstate Republicans, with 20 percent undecided.
Rauner’s opponents also have sought to attack his ideology by noting his relationship with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Mayor Richard M. Daley and other Democrats nationally. But among voters who call themselves conservatives, Rauner leads with 42 percent compared with 19 percent for Brady.
If there is an area for weakness for Rauner, it is a slight gap between men and women. Republican men prefer Rauner 44 percent to 19 percent for Brady, while GOP women backed Rauner 35 percent to 22 percent for Brady.
This Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll is based on a sample of 600 confirmed registered voters in Illinois likely to vote in the March 18th Republican primary. The potential margin of error for a sample of 600 is +/- 4% at the 95% level of confidence. Interviewing was conducted by phone with live interviewers from Wednesday - Friday evenings and Saturday daytime, February 5-8.
Registered voters are screened to determine voting likelihood - registered to vote where they now live, absolutely or fairly sure will vote, and voted in one of last two GOP state primary elections. Illinois is one of the states that do not have party registration. Self-described party identification is a variable.