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Some things old are new again

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

* I had completely forgotten about this until a commenter pointed it out yesterday. From way back on April 28, 2003

Converting campaign-style rhetoric into survey questions, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich released poll results Sunday contending that his credibility with the public is so great lawmakers should fear for their re-election chances if they dare oppose his $52 billion budget proposal.

But it was the credibility of the $20,000 poll conducted for Blagojevich and paid for by his campaign that was immediately assailed by Republicans and at least one politically independent pollster. They said the survey, conducted last week, was laced with loaded words and leading questions skewed to favor Blagojevich and paint any critic in an unfavorable light.

The release of the poll results, which Blagojevich announced at news conferences in five cities, was the latest tactic of a chief executive whose public-relations-driven leadership style has been a hallmark of his slightly more than 100 days in office. […]

“I think what this does tell us is that the length of this governor’s campaign is unprecedented,” Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Republican leader Frank Watson of Greenville. […]

[Nick Panagakis, president of Market Shares Corp., which conducts political and issue polling for the Tribune] said the poll questions lacked neutrality and used words like “innovative” to describe for respondents one of the governor’s revenue-raising proposals. One poll question asked those surveyed whether they agreed with Blagojevich’s budget priorities or with “the same people who helped create the crisis the state now faces and represent the failed politics of the past.”

* From my April 20, 2015 syndicated newspaper column

Gov. Bruce Rauner devised a new way to reward his friends and punish his enemies on April 16th when he created a campaign committee called “Illinois Turnaround.” […]

The governor’s campaign also released a polling memo which purports to show that the public backs his agenda. While his job approval rating is just 38 percent, his disapproval rating is five points below at 33 percent and his favorable rating is 42 percent, versus 34 who view him unfavorably.

By contrast, the General Assembly’s job approval rating is a mere 20 percent, with 57 percent disapproving. House Speaker Michael Madigan’s favorables are just 24 percent, with 51 percent viewing him unfavorably.

The poll also found that 57 percent agree with: “Bruce Rauner is trying to shake things up in Springfield, but the career politicians are standing in his way,” and 56 percent agree that the governor is “working to find bipartisan solutions that will help fix Illinois’s budget mess and improve the struggling state economy.”

“Every time they attack us,” a Rauner insider said about the Democrats, “they are reinforcing that they are insiders and the governor is the outsider - he’s the one trying to change things.”

…Adding… I should’ve also made mention of Blagojevich’s “Moving Illinois Forward” PAC, which was a lesser-funded version of the “Democratic” Rauner-favorable group.

I have strictly avoided direct comparisons here between RRB and BVR because I do not want to imply in any way that the current governor is corrupt. And this post today is in no way making that implication.

But if you’re wondering why the negativity appears to be escalating under the Statehouse dome, this may offer a clue.

Rod Blagojevich won reelection in 2006 during a huge Democratic year, but he was a failed governor because he constantly pulled stunts like releasing those poll numbers. He also failed because Speaker Madigan made it his mission to bring the guy down.

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      


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