* The State Journal-Register’s Sunday editorial makes a very important - and valid - point about the upcoming election…
As the 2010 campaign moves forward, voters should keep one thing in mind: Those candidates who promise you no pain, those who say things can be solved by just making nips and tucks and magically creating private sector jobs — they have just lied to you.
The Tribune isn’t moved…
The response of too many Democratic officials at state and local governments in Illinois? Gee, what taxes can we raise to drive away more employers and workers — because you can’t possibly ask us to change how, and how much, we spend.
* My syndicated newspaper column talks about the polling that we discussed last week, with one very important addition which I’ve highlighted below…
For the first time since he took office, a new Rasmussen Reports poll of Illinoisans shows that more than half of all voters disapprove of Gov. Pat Quinn’s performance in office.
The poll of 500 likely Illinois voters taken Oct. 14 found that 53 percent disapproved of Quinn’s performance while 45 percent approved. That’s a six-point switch from August when Rasmussen had Quinn’s approval at 47 percent and his disapproval at 49 percent. Back in June, Quinn’s approval was measured at 57 percent, while his disapproval was 41. In April, Rasmussen had Quinn’s approval rating at 61 percent and his disapproval at just 37 percent. There’s an obvious trend.
Quinn’s disapproval rating has been climbing across all demographics this year, including among Democrats. Just 26 percent of Democrats disapproved of Quinn’s performance in June, but 38 percent of Democrats disapproved this month. Independent voters have been a lot more unforgiving. In April, 36 percent of independents disapproved of the governor’s job performance, but Rasmussen’s latest October survey has 59 percent of independents turning thumbs down.
The governor most assuredly was viewed extra positively by voters in the wake of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s ouster and the fresh start given Illinois politics. Quinn since unsuccessfully pushed for an unpopular tax increase, has been unable to make good on promises to enact strong campaign finance reforms and also couldn’t balance the budget. The constant crises most definitely are taking their toll, as they are with many other governors around the country.
The poll was taken near the start of the current TV advertising blitz being conducted by Quinn and his Democratic primary opponent Dan Hynes. Rasmussen rated Hynes’ favorables at 46 percent, with 28 percent saying they rated him unfavorably and 26 percent unsure. Quinn’s favorables were 50 percent, with 41 percent saying they had an unfavorable view of him and 8 percent not sure.
The Rasmussen poll also shows Illinois Democrats have a significant advantage in the “generic” gubernatorial ballot, with 43 percent saying they’ll vote for a nonspecific Democrat and 37 percent saying they’ll cast their vote for a Republican candidate for governor. Rasmussen has the national generic congressional ballot at just the opposite, with 42 percent Republican and 37 percent Democratic, but those Illinois numbers may be less strong for Democrats than you might expect in a state that has produced such gigantic Democratic majorities in the past decade.
The Republicans also have a big lead among senior citizens 65 and older, with 40 percent saying they’ll take a Republican ballot and just 33 percent saying they’ll cast their vote for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate. The Democrats have consistently won the senior vote by 10 points over the past two election cycles, so this is a very worrying result for that party and worth a closer look. The poll, by the way, has a margin of error of plus/minus 4.5 percent, but that’s higher for individual demographics.
Meanwhile, a recent Paul Simon Institute poll found that 65.5 percent opposed an increase in the state income tax from 3 percent to 4.5 percent - a proposal pushed by Quinn throughout the year. Less than a third supported the idea. Quinn’s income tax hike plan has been a focal point of Comptroller Hynes’ TV ad campaign, and the Republicans have been salivating at the chance to run against it next year.
Hynes has pushed an alternative plan to raise income taxes only on the wealthy. That proposal wasn’t polled by the Paul Simon Institute this year, but they did poll it last year.
Asked how they felt about “a proposal to add brackets to the state income tax structure so that higher-income residents pay higher taxes,” 66 percent said they favored it. Just 29 percent opposed it, and 5 percent didn’t know.
That’s the only tax hike Illinoisans supported last year, so it’s little wonder why Hynes would favor it this year.
Hynes appears to have the far better political positioning on the tax issue than Quinn and doesn’t have the baggage of incumbency, which is becoming increasingly toxic throughout the nation. But none of it means quite yet that he’ll win the primary. Democratic voters won’t speak until Feb. 2.
I really wish the Institute had polled that question this year.
* Municipalities need pension relief: That said, we support a measure currently being negotiated in Springfield that would allow municipalities to delay funding a part of their pension obligations this year with the caveat that the cut in the obligation is no more than a one- or possibly two-year emergency measure while a more permanent solution to the funding challenge is developed.
* Budget cuts raise concern for inmate drug program
* Legislature seeks CTA solutions
* Hearings on transit agency budgets set
* Bring back Southland Caucus in Springfield
* Quinn appoints 3 to state Latino Family Commission
* Quinn names retired Bull B.J. Armstrong honorary youth adviser
* Hynes picking up 2 more union endorsements