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Question of the day

Friday, Jun 26, 2015

* University of Illinois-Springfield political science professor Ron Michaelson

He said Rauner is a unique governor because he has publicly declared he’s not worried about re-election.

“In many respects, this is an entirely new and different ball game than we’ve ever seen occur before,” Michaelson said.

A commonly held perception. And it could very well be true.

* Now, keeping in mind that about the last third of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s TV ad blasting Speaker Madigan is spent buttressing the governor’s own image

(T)he Rauner ad campaign is also aimed at rebuilding the governor’s public support. Otherwise, Rauner-funded legislative candidates in 2016 face the same dilemma that Democrats faced under the unpopular Quinn - being associated with a deeply unpopular governor.

There may lie the reason that Madigan has taken to referring to GOP lawmakers as “Rauner Republicans.”

In other words, drag Rauner down with him.

* The Question: How much do you think Gov. Rauner really cares about his own public popularity right now? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

customer survey

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - How Ironic - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    You don’t buy the Gov House, without a large dose of ego and vanity and the desire to be seen in a favorable light.

  2. - Gooner - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    I said “a lot” but I would qualify that to say “not much” when it comes to IL voters.

    I continue to believe he has his mind highly focused on a national level, whether that means on a ticket, in a cabinet, or just influencing policy.

  3. - Flava Dave - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    I voted “a lot” - the more unpopular Rauner is the more money it will cost him to influence legislative races and or openly fund a Democratic and even a Republican political fund.

  4. - #5 - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    I think if he didn’t care, he would have made the cuts he desired to the Dem budget and let the chips fall where they may.

  5. - Griff - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:21 am:

    I think the governor was (is) hoping that public opinion would support his stance. Without public support he is left with little political clout. He needs that clout to “hold” Republicans in the GA and to remove Dems in 2016.

  6. - Paddyrollingstone - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    I voted that he cares a lot. I do not buy the argument that he does not care if he is reelected. I think that he desperately wants to be reelected. A few weeks back there were comment here that if he loses reelection, he just go back and enjoy being a rich guy with his nine homes and all that jazz. He doesn’t want that. If he did, that’s what he would be doing now.

  7. - walker - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    Of course he cares about his popularity, but can rationalize with some “obviously temporary” downturns in polling.

    “I always succeed” will carry him through.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    Voted “A lot”


    You don’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an Ad that’s purpose is to have your opponent be seen as bad, and you go out if your way to be the “good guy”…

    … six months after beginning a 4-year term.

    To go further? Sure.

    Rauner’s attempt to put pressure on the legislature as a whole, and legislators individually is solely based on Rauner winning, being “liked” in districts that have Democrats in seats where Rauner won his office.

    It’s lliterarly, “If I can show I’m more liked, I can leverage ‘X’…”

    You literally HAVE to care that you’re well liked for that strategy to work.

    The irony? Rauner wants to be liked, that he doesn’t care that he IS liked. That’s is schtick.

    “I don’t care if I’m liked, so like me!”

    Rauner cares, “a lot” to be liked. Politically, personally, even strategically.

    If Rauner can’t make a case he’s more liked than “X”, why all the vote totals, strategic marketing of Rauner, and in doing so, ginning up his positives.

    Voted “A lot”

  9. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    Agree with some of the comments above, that a certain amount of popularity will be necessary to move the agenda forward. I also think he needs to be somewhat popular with his spouse.

  10. - vole - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    “re-election” assumes Rauner was elected by the people vs. being self selected by a process of applying his vast wealth to swaying public opinion.

  11. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    I voted A lot with one caveat: He wants to be popular with the public HE values: the 1%, downstaters who can’t see the forest for the trees, IL Republicans. Everyone else can go scratch.

  12. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    I voted “some” but I also take him at his word. He has said repeatedly that he doesn’t care about polls or re-election. He wants to ruffle feathers, take on entrenched interests, break the political class and shake up Springfield, whatever that means. So far, there’s been some shakin’ goin’ on, but not much is being accomplished.

    Give him three more years in this thankless job and he’ll be itching to spend more time on his ranch in Montana. It sure seems like he is playing to a small audience of fellow plutocrats, both in Illinois and elsewhere. So he cares somewhat about his popularity, just not so much with the public at large as with those he might run into at the club.

  13. - AC - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    Of course he cares a lot, he could be spending billions doing anything he wanted. The only real perk of the job he picked is how he is percieved by the public. It’s not like he is a policy nerd obsessing over the mechanics of the school funding formula. Sure, he’s an ideologue but I think he believes the success of his ideas will make him popular.

  14. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    If he didn’t care, he never would’ve run for governor to begin with. That said, I do think he has some convictions that he knows will be perceived as fairly unpopular so I voted “some.”

    But I could be talked into “a lot.”

  15. - illinoised - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    I voted “a lot.” He has the same Achilles heel as Trump and Blagojevich - he lives in a world the rest of us are not in.

  16. - Casual Observer - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    You can’t be a good politician without some level of narcissism. Of course he needs his ego fed. That gives him energy. But like all narcissists he needs a fall guy to blame when things are not going the way he wants. Madigan has played that fall guy for others over the years and seems to relish the role sometimes. I voted a lot.

  17. - Norseman - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    Definitely cares a lot. He’s been in continual campaign mode and his executive actions were more puffery than substantive.

  18. - William j Kelly - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    Rainer doesn’t care at all, he is only there to do rahm’s dirty work and then return to his billions leaving the Illinois Republican Party with the bad rap.

  19. - Juice - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    If the Governor doesn’t care about popularity, he sticks with the $26 million in cuts. He would have held education hostage along with everything else to get his agenda through. Or alternatively, he would have reduction and line item veto the budget to bring it to balance as the constitution envisioned him doing. He’d be publicly acknowledging that even his own budget requires new revenue. And he would drop term limits, which is going to be a non-starter and is bad policy unless he wants to hand more control over to special interest lobbyists. Saying he doesn’t care about being popular is a lot different that actually not caring. Voted a lot.

  20. - Anonin' - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:31 am:

    The Bobblehead is runnin’ for president (sooner rather than later) TeamBungle refuses to tell him how bad it I goin’ Bet Rahm hands him his lunch when the meet today. Guessin’ we’ll Michelson pop up on some appointment real soon.

  21. - PublicServant - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    He cares about his popularity, but only so far as being popular helps him attempt to shift the blame to Madigan and the dems for the deep cuts he wants to implement.

  22. - Jack Jackson - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    I voted “Alot.”

    Because I think the governor both wants to be liked…as others have pointed out, he’s not a modest, humble man.

    But he’s obsessed with what he wants - his pro-1%, anti-middle class agenda.

    So he wants both - to get what he wants, and to be loved.

  23. - Federalist - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    I voted A lot with one caveat: He wants to be popular with the public HE values: the 1%, downstaters who can’t see the forest for the trees, IL Republicans. Everyone else can go scratch.

    Excellent comment!

  24. - Mason born - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    I voted not much. I think Rauner has done the worst thing any leader can do he appears to have surrounded himself with yes men/women. These folks are IMHO hhelping to keep him convinced that no matter what anyone says he has the answers and the voters will love him for it once they see how great his fix is. With his cadre of friends do uou really thonk anyone tells him he is wrong. The most valuable advisor is the one willing to challenge your beliefs.

    Voted not much

  25. - AnonymousOne - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    Hard one to answer because he sure gets off on creating discord. Most people wouldn’t do that because they’re afraid of alienating people. Rauner seems to enjoy that. But then again, it sure is attention getting. He’s just some different breed of human, I guess.

  26. - The Captain - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    I voted “some”. Two thoughts:

    1) I do believe he cares that his philosophy of government is validated and for better or worse the re-elect tends to be the referendum on such matters. Losing a re-elect to an opponent who vows to undo all of the Rauner initiatives seems like the type of thing that would matter to him.

    2) As has been noted previously many of the Governor’s top staffers have disproportionately more campaign experience than government experience (if any at all) and I’d find it hard to believe they could just all of a sudden stop caring about poll numbers.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    - Juice -,

    Great stuff there.

  28. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    He cares to be popular with the “right” people. He has his own people and is definitely focused upon them, instead of every Illinoisan.

    His behavior suggests to me that he has decided who will like him and his beliefs in government and policies, and who won’t. He hasn’t governed like someone interested in bringing divergent groups together. He seems very comfortable in stereotypes. His language suggest confrontation, disrespect and dislike towards specific groups.

    As a believer in market values, Rauner has never worked with a global perspective before. People with his background are comfortable accepting that there are customers and there are others. Consequently, Rauner considers citizens as customers. Market values suggest that only those customers who pay are worthy of a service.

    So Rauner has a specific market group he sells to and hopes to be bought by. This makes him different from previous governors who believed that being a governor meant caring for all citizens, regardless of their ability to pay.

    As long as he is being bought by the market he has targeted with his administration, Bruce Rauner doesn’t care about the rest of us. That is how I interpret him so far.

  29. - Wordslinger - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    A lot. He’s running image spots five months in. Who does that?

  30. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:43 am:

    He cares a lot. I have known too many white males from suburbia that probably have never had to clean a toilet that think his actions are exactly what the masses desire. He thinks he has a mandate for his agenda. Unfortunately, I don’t believe he is capable of walking a mile in another man’s shoes.

  31. - AmericanPie - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    i think everybody cares about their popularity, regardless of what they say. in rauner’s case, he probably cares more than most because his popularity is a proxy for his ideas, which are deeply and sincerely held (though i for one don’t agree with them)

  32. - Anonin' - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    Speeakin’ of questions, we forgot to ask and answer who had checked the mail, found the rental payment and complied with IL law —- (A) Jumpin’ Jason — master of the neighborhood recovery debacle — sez he hired out to TeamBungle for just $8K. A leader with so many proven skill —just ask — should have been in for five figures. Maybe next time.

  33. - Arsenal - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    Generally speaking, incumbents want to get re-elected. Generally speaking, incumbents want to pass their agendas. You need popularity to do both. Rauner is smart enough to know this. It isn’t about vanity or ego (though I’m sure he can be vain or egotistical), it’s just about understanding political reality.

  34. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:46 am:

    I voted he cares a lot because, regardless of what he says about himself, he IS a politician. Politicians have egos, and they care what people think about them. On another note, I can’t wait to see terrified republicans balancing their fear of his money with the fear of appearing with him in public. I predict that republican GA members will look like hostages on stage with him at public appearances if this polling trend continues!

  35. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    Not much at all - only so much as it could drag down the GOP statewide. I would say Not at All if it weren’t for the prospect of damage that could be done to his ability to govern with a bigger veto-proof majority in either chamber after 2016.

  36. - REE - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:49 am:

    I also indicated that he does not care at all. Rauner is not concerned about what the voters (citizens) of Illinois think. He is here to make sure that the agenda of elite becomes embedded in state laws. Even if he does not win re-election, he still wins economically if/when his agenda is voted into law. Rich people play the political game over the long run, not short-term. Illinois is a huge and powerful state and the wealthy want full control of its economic future. The key question is “Will the citizens of Illinois sit back and allow this to happen?”

  37. - DuPage - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:50 am:

    A lot. Rauner envisioned massive public support for his turnaround agenda, which did not happen. He would not be spending on the TV ads unless he still thinks he can rally people to take his side and pressure the Democrats. So far, not working.

  38. - Honeybear - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:50 am:

    A lot—unpopularity has an enormous cost.

  39. - REE - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:54 am:

    Arsenal, I agree that this is not about vanity or ego. This is about cold, hard cash. The elites want lower wages and higher profits. Gov. Rauner is their political front man.

  40. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    I said “not at all”
    I think he IS trying very hard to build public support for his Turn Around Agenda, and to that end has a smiling presence in his ads.
    But I think he does not care if he becomes unelectable, nor does he care about who really gets hurt in his goal of taking away Union power, and reducing costs for business. His agenda is far more Pro Business than partisan politics. Republicans should recognize as well that he is not a true party leader.

  41. - REE - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:56 am:

    I agree, Anonymous.

  42. - Waffle Fries - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    Reaction and decisions with the Good Friday Cuts shows he is

  43. - Wensicia - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:04 pm:

    You can’t sell your product if people don’t like you, and so far he’s had trouble with his Turnaround Agenda, hence the new media ads. Rauner understands he needs to be popular, liked, but he still believes IL voters are easily duped, hence the same folksy “I’m just like you.” approach.

  44. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    I said “not at all”

    He thinks he is on a mission..

  45. - Georg Sande - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    Not much. He’s doing things that are needed but are often not popular. These actions stand in stark contrast of those who only care about re-election and re-electing their minions. Rauner v. Madigan is exactly what’s needed to turnaround this state.

  46. - Sam Weinberg - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    I’m confused by anyone who anything less than “a lot.”

    Guys like Scott Walker and Sam Brownback, with the legislative majorities they have, are able to say (and even believe) their popularity is irrelevant.

    However, I have no idea how the Governor is going to get the House and Senate to pass the types of laws he’s looking for (and/or win some more R seats in a year like 2016) unless he’s pretty popular.

    (I also happen to believe that when he looks into the mirror he sees a President, but that’s besides the point).

  47. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    Voted “a lot.” I believe he isn’t concerned about re-election to his current position but I believe he’s very concerned about election to the White House or a cabinet position at some time in the future.

  48. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    Not at all right now, still more popular than the general assembly. Something he can build on lead the way with shared sacrifice millionaire tax shame the rest of us

  49. - Langhorne - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    A lot

    RAUNER is the brand. He has to constantly define and defend it.

    RAUNER wins at everything he does. It isn’t enuf for him to
    win. You have to lose.

    My hunch is rauners internal polls showed his negatives, hence extending the ad

  50. - QCLib - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:12 pm:

    You don’t backtrack on unpopular decisions without caring about your popularity.

  51. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:12 pm:

    If we stick to “public popularity,” I voted he doesn’t care at all. In his circles, “the public” is viewed as something to be managed, not catered to or massaged to glean loyalty. Critiquing him based on the populist playbook is a mistake. He’s working off of another game plan.

  52. - Eugene - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:18 pm:

    The Raunerites seem to think they can pressure the public because agrees with him and the gov is personally popular. They keep talking about how Rauner won this or that legislator’s district in 2010. They have built a lot of their strategy around this, even though the votes he got in 2010 say more about Pat Quinn than they do about Rauner.

  53. - Eugene - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    Sorry, I meant to write, “pressure the legislature because the public agrees with him.”

  54. - Amalia - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:23 pm:

    he barely cares what his wife thinks so he obviously doesn’t think about the public!

  55. - MrJM - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:31 pm:

    “How much do you think Gov. Rauner really cares about his own public popularity right now?”

    I think this is a much more complicated question than it seems on its face. I’ll try to explain.

    1) Bruce Rauner cares A LOT about what his elite social peers think of him. And his sense of what his social peers think of him is very accurate.
    2) Bruce Rauner cares SOME about what voters think of him. But his sense of what voters think of him is based on reports from his staff and, primarily, what his elite social peers think of him. Therefore, his sense of what voters think of him is inaccurate.
    3) Bruce Rauner believes his own sense of his public popularity is 100% accurate.
    4) Bruce Rauner believes that the public’s disapproval of him is due the negative things that unions and Democrats say about him and his actions/policies. He does NOT believe that public disapproval is due to the unpopularity of his actions/policies themselves.
    5) Bruce Rauner believes that he can make voters approve of his actions/policies by making himself more personally popular vis-à-vis unions and Democrats. (That’s the reason that his ads’ call to action is “Like me more than Mike Madigan or union thugs.”)

    For those reasons, I do think that Bruce Rauner cares about his public popularity. But I also think that he has an inaccurate sense of his own popularity AND a misguided view of the causal relationship between popularity and governing.

    Public popularity is the result of successful governing. By contrast, Rauner thinks successful governing is the result of public popularity.

    Once you recognize that Bruce Rauner misunderstands the causal relationship between popularity and governing, many of his otherwise inexplicable actions make much more sense.

    – MrJM

  56. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:42 pm:

    I voted “a lot” - if you’re that rich, the reason you run for governor is ego. But I think Rauner is comfortable with trading short-term unpopularity for long-term popularity, whether that’s the ability to claim victory while in office or the ability to say “told you so” later.

  57. - Anon - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:43 pm:

    I don’t think he really cares much, but he’s being told that he needs to care and money is no object, so he figures, “WTH?”

  58. - Earnest - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:47 pm:

    I voted “a lot.” His efforts over the past months seem more about him campaigning to get people on his side than the pragmatics of getting a budget finished that stabilizes the state financially.

    I still can’t get over my disappointment that he didn’t present a budget that uses real numbers. After his election I think he had enough credibility to put to rest the magic beans arguments and get the public to believe the reality of the situation.

  59. - Belle - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    Voted ‘a lot.’
    You cannot put yourself through all of this without caring about your success. In politics (as in much of life) image and being liked is part of success. Plus, he cannot be successful without being popular—just the way politics generally functions.

  60. - A guy - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 12:57 pm:

    He cares about it enough so to not burden any candidates he’s supporting. For himself personally, I don’t think he cares at all. I voted “some”

  61. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    ++He cares about it enough so to not burden any candidates he’s supporting.++

    So why’d signed he Education Bill they voted no on this week? I think you’re being too kind.

  62. - Politix - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:22 pm:

    In English: So why’d he sign the Education Bill they voted no on?

  63. - CapnCrunch - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    I voted not much.

    One first has to ask why he ran for governor.

    If he is seeking higher office, the realization of his agenda is paramount regardless of his standing with the citizens of Illinois.

    If he truly believes his policies are the best way to grow our economy and provide jobs, then getting those policies in place is more important than his personal popularity.

    In either case, what has he accomplished if he is popular but his agenda for Illinois is not realized?

  64. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:25 pm:

    He cares about it enough so to not burden any candidates he’s supporting.

    Then please explain why he gave them 30 minutes before publically sandbagging them on the education budget agreement.

  65. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    Between the ads and op eds, this is all one massive “Look how smart and tough I am.” campaign. We little folks should feel privileged to have him.

    Makes me want to throw up.

  66. - JS Mill - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:39 pm:

    Said “some”-

    A lot of this was a vanity thing for Rauner. He may care more as time wears on.

    I do think he expected the citizens to see him as a white knight and may be a little surprised at the lack of overwhelming support.

  67. - Not quite a majority - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 1:55 pm:

    He cares alot for the people he’s carrying water — the Kochs’, who ever wins the GOP Pres reality show, etc.

  68. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:05 pm:

    Lots of governors declare they aren’t worried about re-election. Only the ones in Virginia can say that with even an ounce of truth.

  69. - Buzzie - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    I don’t believe he has any national aspirations; that would involve too much time and effort.

  70. - SouthernILGirl - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    I think he is a true believer in his turnaround rhetoric. He sees it as his reason for being Gov. He really believes it, deeply, madly, truly. For that reason I voted he cares about being liked very little. It’s the mission, not his popularity, that he cares about. Once his mission is accomplished he can go back to being a gazillionaire.

  71. - JS Mill - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:20 pm:

    =Public popularity is the result of successful governing. By contrast, Rauner thinks successful governing is the result of public popularity.=

    Just wow on your entire post. Excellent assessment and spot on.

  72. - Modest Proposal - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:23 pm:

    I said not much, just cause I don’t deal in absolutes..

    He really accomplished a lot in his life so far, so I don’t think being a popular governor is high on list like it was for Pat Quinn.

  73. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 2:30 pm:

    I said a lot but now that i think more on it it probably does not cross his mind. With an ego and conceit like his he probably cannot fathom that he is not beloved if not worshipped

  74. - Wordslinger - Friday, Jun 26, 15 @ 3:29 pm:

    The governor certainly has already made history in some minds.

    He’s the first incumbent officeholder in history who doesn’t care much or at all about his personal popularity to spend millions on image advertising 3.5 years before his next election.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
* A rough idea of what they're looking at
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
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* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
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