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“It’s hard to see a path” for Ives’ success

Monday, Nov 6, 2017

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column is back in the Chicago Sun-Times

Until recently, state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) had been passing separate nominating petitions for both her re-election to the Illinois House and a possible primary bid for governor against incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner.

The ultra-conservative firebrand now says she has stopped passing re-election petitions. But if a recent poll is any indication, Rep. Ives might want to keep her House re-election bid alive because the state’s Republican Party may not be nearly as divided as some GOP politicians have been claiming it is.

A Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll found that 61 percent of 1,064 likely Republican voters had a favorable impression of Gov. Rauner. Just 24 percent had an unfavorable opinion, despite the fact that he has been taking enormous heat from his right flank ever since he signed a publicly funded abortion on demand bill into law in late September.

The intensely outspoken anger directed at Rauner over the abortion bill, which he promised to veto last spring, is pretty much without precedent. “In the face of overwhelming evidence of Rauner’s inability to competently administer the Illinois government, inability to stand up to Mike Madigan effectively, and inability to keep his word and his commitments, I can no longer support him,” said Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard) after Rauner signed the bill. “And whether or not they are able to agree publicly, I know hundreds of elected Republicans, along with hundreds of thousands of Republican voters, who feel the same way I do.”

Maybe not.

We didn’t test President Donald Trump in this poll, but nationally he’s been getting somewhere between 80 and 85 percent support from members of his own party. So while Rauner has some very real problems when compared with Trump, is the opposition stiff enough to actually take him out in the primary?

The poll, conducted for my newsletter subscribers Oct. 25-29, found Gov. Rauner is leading Rep. Ives 64-19, with 16 percent undecided. The poll had a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

Rep. Ives told the Daily Herald not long ago that she had commitments for “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in contributions. But she’s gonna need a whole lot more than that because almost nobody knows who she is.

According to the poll, 83 percent of Republican voters have never heard of Ives.

Rep. Ives can tap into a strong statewide network of seasoned pro-life activists to collect enough signatures to get her onto the ballot against Rauner. And while that network also can generate lots of word of mouth for her candidacy (including via social media), it has historically never generated the kind of money that Ives will need to compete with the deep-pockets Rauner.

If no millionaire surfaces to fund her campaign, she’ll need to tap into national small-dollar sources. So, it was somewhat surprising that Rep. Ives did not try to use her kickoff to closely tie herself to President Donald Trump. She never uttered his name during a long Illinois Channel television interview and didn’t appear to mention her party’s national leader when she launched her petition drive. That’s probably the easiest way to attract national attention and support, particularly since Gov. Rauner is so reticent to comment on anything the president says or does.

According to the poll, 85 percent of Downstaters and suburban Cook voters have never heard of Ives, and neither has 78 percent of collar county suburbanites.

Gov. Rauner’s Downstate lead over Rep. Ives is 65-17. It’s 67-16 in suburban Cook County and 65-22 in the collars.

Among men, Rauner leads 69-21 with 10 percent undecided. Among women, it’s 60-17, with 23 percent undecided. Forty-seven percent of the respondents were mobile phone users.

Her only “bright spot” is Chicago, where Rauner’s lead is 41-34. Even so, 76 percent of Chicagoans say they’ve never heard of her, meaning they chose her without knowing who she is. Chicago is the only region where Rauner’s favorability is upside down. Just 40 percent have a favorable opinion versus 49 percent who have an unfavorable view.

“It won’t be easy to convince potential deep-pocket contributors that she has a fighting chance,” said pollster Gregg Durham of Rep. Ives. “In this first, albeit early poll, it’s hard to see a path for her success should she decide to take the plunge into these very treacherous waters.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - A guy - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:08 am:

    Nearly 50 points ahead, with close to 70% approval within the universe that will be voting…

    Tough to overlook those kind of numbers. It’s not that early.


  2. - Can - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    It’s 4 months away. A lifetime in politics.


  3. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    Her road may be through Murphysboro.


  4. - Responsa - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    I don’t think she even remotely has a path. But still, in this strange and volatile political environment (which is affecting both parties) the Ives challenge from the right is one way the state party finds out what its voters are focused on–or not– and what they most care about as Illinoisans going forward. It is the way a party determines who its core voters are and what they want from their candidates and leadership.


  5. - Annonin' - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    If Ives starts talkin’ the Trmp talk pronto, GovJunk probably gets squeezed big time….Maybe she hook up with Bannon too.
    Since GovJUnk cannot get the word Trump out of his mouth overtakin’ him should not be hard at all


  6. - Roman - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    There’s path, but it’s a narrow one — and cozying up to Trump is a vital component of it. She’s gonna need help from the Bannonites, both financially and in creating conservative media heat.


  7. - A guy - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    ==- Can - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    It’s 4 months away. A lifetime in politics.==

    Except we’re moving into the holidays where for 6 weeks+, there’s little attention to any of this. So, you need to make the case that 2 months is a lifetime in politics…which it is, if you have the money to make it seem that way. If you don’t, it’s the blink of an eye. Follow the (lack of) money.


  8. - Generation X - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    As other posters pointed out the path is Bannon should he decide to get involved.

    I think it was Wordslinger that pointed out 69% of Illinous primary voters went Trump or Cruz. That base would cause Rauner fits if mobilized


  9. - Lunchbox - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Does Ives have a highly improbable path to victory in the primary? Absolutely, just based on the financials alone. But I think the lede is being buried here– after months and months of Rauner ads, he is only at 61% approval among Republicans statewide. Ives has nowhere to go but up. I have been putting the over/under at 37% for Ives’ total in the primary vote on beer bets with friends. I am currently taking the over. A lot of Republican primary voters are single issue– either pro-life or immigration, and Rauner has crossed orthodoxy on both and made a lot of people mad.


  10. - Lunchbox - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    The lede is being buried here– despite months of ads being run by Rauner, he is only at 61% approval rating statewide among Republicans. Ives has nowhere to go but up, all the party activists I’ve talked to are deeply unhappy about the turnabout on HB40 and immigration. I’ve put Ives over/under at 37% on primary day for beer bets with friends, I’m currently taking the over.


  11. - Duck duck goose - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    Jeanne has made a mistake to run for governor on a one issue campaign. That issue and her negativity on most issues without something better to offer dooms her political career. Pass the popcorn and watch the show


  12. - Macbeth - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    All it’ll take is the first debate. If Ives can make it that far, I suspect she’ll dominate Rauner.


  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:20 am:

    Bizarre that Ives hasn’t tied herself to Trump. I can’t think of a reason why she should not. It’s the immediate and free way to throw down a big marker with primary voters and put Rauner on the defensive.


  14. - A guy - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Sling, her district was very negative on Trump. That has colored her judgement.


  15. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    Too bad the only challenge to Rauner on the right is from ideological Crazytown. We could use a moderate Republican not from the plutocratic union-busting mold and who’s trustworthy, but there are none like this.


  16. - Honeybadger - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    Dan Rutheford moderate Republican


  17. - a drop in - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    “All it’ll take is the first debate. ”

    But will he even debate her?


  18. - Shake - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    Rep Ives Has My Vote.. Anybody But Rauner..


  19. - ste_with_a_v_en - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    “All it’ll take is the first debate.”

    To find out she’s too far right? Plus if she get’s fact checked on HB 40 and the TRUST Act, people will see her campaign for what it is.


  20. - Chris P. Bacon - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:44 pm:

    President Trump is the only thing positive the GOP has going, anywhere. But Ives has Ted Cruz people around her. She was a Cruz person herself in the primary. She doesn’t really seem up to this task I’m sorry to say, because Rauner must go.


  21. - unprecedental - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:44 pm:

    Do we have access to Blagojevich’s primary numbers in polling five months before the 2006 primary? Be curious to compare Rauner’s current numbers with Rod’s and then see what (if any) movement took place over the next five months.


  22. - ste_with_a_v_en - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    -unprecedental-
    Check Wikipedia.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois_gubernatorial_election,_2006#Democratic_primary


  23. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    To the Post,

    Great stuff by Rich, and including the raw polling numbers, it really puts into perspective what Ives is and will be in her tilting of windmills.

    Still have the “number” at 37.5%

    Ives at 19% with horrible name recognition isn’t going to help wheh Rauner gets to “help his own cause” by painting her Uber-Extreme, and Rauner polling over 60% with GOP voters will only strengthen Rauner within the fooled GOP voter universe.

    Ives’, for me, absolute ceiling is 40%, anc it’s possible Ives gets 38-39%, but 40% is “it”.

    That’s a 20-point shellacking with Rauner rehabilitating himself with suburban women, collar county voters, moderates, and those already “Madigan” blind voters.

    This is a Fool’s Errand that will help Rauner in a dry run and actual raw ballot measuring where Rauner needs to shore up raw vote totals.

    Rauner can run ads against “Madigan”, the “extreme Right”, and be far enough Right that Trump voters may (or may not) be alienated.

    Ives already has fresh extreme quotes going around.

    Agree, why don’t Ives just embrace Trump and force Rauner’s hand?

    If Ives gets $5 million, maybe that will happen.

    But, even with the $5 million, Ives loses by at the least 20 points, likely 30+ points and helps Rauner come next November.

    This is a colossal mistake by Ives, conservatives again aren’t helping.

    If they want Rauner defeated in 2018, make Rauner blind to base weaknesses.


  24. - Pundent - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    =President Trump is the only thing positive the GOP has going, anywhere.=

    And with an approval rating of about 35% this is a very sad commentary on the state of the GOP.


  25. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    “Ives has nowhere to go but up”

    I’d take that bet.

    Never underestimate the ‘people skills’ of Jeanne Ives.

    – MrJM


  26. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    Shhh, don’t say anything to dissuade her from running in the primary. It would be nice to have her out of the GA.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    ===It would be nice to have her (Ives) out of the GA.===

    … at the cost of a Rauner 2nd term?

    I can deal with more Rep. Ives. I dunno if Illinois can handle more Governor Rauner.


  28. - Liberty - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 3:39 pm:

    Who was counted as a likely Republican voter? A general election likely is far different from someone who voted in the last Republican primary.


  29. - anon - Monday, Nov 6, 17 @ 10:55 pm:

    maybe a dark committee will ride the dark horse–ask Schock how he went from first to worst.


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