Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » PPP poll results: “Spectacularly lousy for a governor who isn’t under criminal investigation”
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PPP poll results: “Spectacularly lousy for a governor who isn’t under criminal investigation”

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018

* We talked about this poll a bit last week, but here’s my latest statewide newspaper column

A recent statewide poll taken for Sen. Daniel Biss’ gubernatorial campaign showed Gov. Bruce Rauner is much less liked by Illinois voters than his fellow Republican President Donald Trump. The poll also found that the under-funded Democrat Biss actually does slightly better in a head-to-head match with Gov. Rauner than does the presumed front-runner billionaire JB Pritzker.

The Public Policy Polling survey does have one problematic issue, so let’s get to that right up front. Seventy-six percent of respondents were reached on landline phones (that’s too high for polls these days because so many people only use mobile phones) while 24 percent were “interviewed over the internet.” But this problem doesn’t totally disqualify it, so let’s go ahead and talk about it.

According to the poll, 37 percent of Illinois voters have a favorable opinion of President Trump and 58 percent gave him an unfavorable rating, while 5 percent were unsure. That seems about the expected number, considering national polls. The poll of 866 Illinois voters February 5-6 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.

What is somewhat unexpected is only 26 percent of Illinoisans have a favorable impression of Gov. Rauner while a whopping 63 percent have an unfavorable view of the state leader.


That’s just spectacularly lousy for a governor who isn’t under criminal investigation.

Rauner is forging ahead with his re-election campaign by dumping a fortune into TV ads slamming JB Pritzker by tying him to convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Combine that with Biss’ own TV ads attacking Pritzker and it might be no surprise that Pritzker’s favorable rating is also “upside down.”

According to the poll, just 33 percent of Illinoisans have a favorable view of Pritzker while a plurality of 42 percent have an unfavorable view of the man. A quarter of voters, were still unsure, but yikes, man. The dude has spent $40+ million on his campaign, so you’d think he’d be doing better. But fewer Illinoisans have a favorable opinion of Pritzker than… President Trump. OK, he’s not nearly as disliked as Trump, but still.

The Biss campaign didn’t release its candidate’s own favorable ratings or any data on the other top tier contender Chris Kennedy. But its poll found Biss leading Gov. Rauner 47-30 in a head-to-head matchup, with 23 percent saying they were unsure.

Pritzker also led Rauner, but by slightly less than Biss’ 17-point margin. According to the poll, Pritzker is ahead of Rauner by 13 points, 48-35, with 17 percent unsure.

Whether 13 points or 17 points, a win is a win. But there are growing concerns among Democrats that Rauner’s ads will continue to deflate Pritzker’s numbers through November. Then again, Biss doesn’t have Pritzker’s billionaire cash, and, aside from Pritzker’s 15-second ads targeting him, nobody has yet “put him on blast,” as the kids say, so we don’t know how he’d survive an all-out assault like the one Pritzker is enduring.

Pritzker’s favorable rating among his fellow Democrats was a somewhat tepid 52 percent, while his unfavorable rating was 22 percent and 26 percent are undecided, despite the fact that the guy has spent tens of millions over many months to woo those particular voters. Racial crosstabs were not released.

“This confirms what we’ve known all along: voters prefer a middle-class governor in Daniel Biss rather than having to choose between billionaires Pritzker and Rauner,” said Biss campaign manager Abby Witt via press release. “Despite Pritzker outspending Daniel 20-to-1 on TV ads, Daniel continues to build momentum and is the strongest candidate to beat Bruce Rauner.”

Back to Rauner. The poll found that Gov. Rauner’s favorability rating among Republicans is much narrower than a poll released last month, which might be good news for his primary opponent, state Rep. Jeanne Ives.

A poll taken by We Ask America in mid-January had Rauner’s favorables at 65 percent and his unfavorables at 25 percent. But the new PPP poll found that just 49 percent of Republicans now have a favorable view of Rauner vs. 43 percent with an unfavorable view. That’s far less than President Trump’s score of 73 percent favorable among Republican voters and a mere 19 percent unfavorable.

Among voters who said they voted for President Trump, the new PPP found that 92 percent still view him favorably, while just 4 percent have an unfavorable view of the president. Among those same Trump voters, however, 54 percent view Gov. Rauner favorably while 36 view Rauner unfavorably and 9 percent say they’re unsure. That’s obviously not a great sign.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Rocky Rosi - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    Gov. Rauner will be hard to beat. If Biss had JB money or union support this would be a whole new game.

  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    –That’s just spectacularly lousy for a governor who isn’t under criminal investigation.–

    Just imagine how bad it would be if he was in charge.

    How’s this for pathetic and hilarious at the same time — Rauner whining at the Sangamon County GOP dinner last week:

    “Now look, you know I’m not a politician. This is all new to me.”

    Three years in.

    For the life of me, I don’t understand his motivation. A 60-year-old man, spending all that dough to run around the state telling everyone how clueless and weak he is.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:53 am:

    First and foremost,

    Great stuff per usual Rich. Breaking down the poll to political realities and how some results came to be, it gives life to the numbers and the discussion that you, like few others, do. Thank you.

    To the Post,

    Pritzker under water is that campaign for weeks upon weeks refusing to take control of a race that they had more than ample monies to bury Biss and Kennedy, waving away and believing “ignore them, don’t give them name ID”… whole letting each try to define Pritzker and themselves untouched by a campaign having nearly $50 million to run “Skyhook”.

    Rauner is Rauner. Running ad after ad, going after Pritzker as they, the Pritzker Crew, sits on its hands with things like Quincy and the blind trust - broken trust issue seemingly nowhere in Ads to counter-point.

    The true failure is seeing the passive way Pritzker’s Crew squandered those weeks by ignoring what was already known;

    They were the front-runners.
    They could bury the others in the Primary and admit polling says so too.
    Go after Rauner, no safe harbor, no quarters

    Then… the tapes.

    They really, admittedly, have no idea what else is out there, so it completely makes sense why they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) put it to bed… they just didn’t know… and given the self Oppo question…

    “Ever been involved in court cases? Criminal? Ever been interviewed by law enforcement on any ongoing investigation? FBI? What was asked?”

    Put all that together… 33/42 underwater makes sense as the snapshot. How could it not make sense?

    Pritzker may still lead, but how many others, 5 weeks out, in that specific primary, are underwater?

    The field apparatus and downstate could very well be the difference and running the “closing argument”, “look who is with J.B” ad now is trying to speed up the clock and salvage a lead the campaign rarely acknowledged existed.

    The question I have is… how much more of this negative from all sides will go on before going after, no holds barred, Kennedy, Biss, and Rauner?

  4. - AndyIllini - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    I said a while back that Rauner would lose and it didn’t matter who his Democratic opponent is. Rich, lol’d at the part about his opponent doesn’t matter.

    But I stand by that.

    A Republican less popular than Trump, in a heavily Blue state in a heavily blue year. Sure Democrats can’t get complacent, they still have to do the work, they have to talk about how it’s hard to heat someone with so much money, a sitting governor, etc, keep their people motivated. If I were involved in a Democratic campaign I wouldn’t be saying that Rauner has no chance, but he has no chance.

    Sure nominating someone like JB, who some will think is offensive and some will think is corrupt won’t help, but it’s hard to imagine he becomes less popular than Rauner, who isn’t even liked by Republicans. And he’d have to be LESS popular than Rauner to lose, equally unpopular still wins (blue state, blue year)

  5. - Not a Billionaire - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:58 am:

    He might have an ethics act issue for the use of secretary though not the mansion.Also landline tends be more Republican so this is really bad. He might want to focus on his primary. Ives ad is probably very popular with Trump voters.

  6. - walker - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 10:59 am:

    Great Illinois headline.

  7. - ZC - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    My question is if the poll is landline-heavy, might that even slightly understate Rauner’s challenges ahead. We know that mobile phone only voters skew young and Trump support skews older. Republican is not a great brand right now for the under 30 set. Rauner couldn’t win the 18-29 block according to exit polls the last time vs Pat Quinn. This shouldn’t be overstated of course because of who actually tends to vote in midterms.

  8. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    A key appears to be that Rauner’s far less popular with Republicans than Trump. Trump is a far better public speaker, and he takes strong, unapologetic conservative stances. No one is a stronger, braver and prouder conservative than our president, folks, no one. Believe me. Rauner tries to thread the needle on issues and relies on canned talking points—all which make him look like a RINO.

  9. - Anon_with_a_ymous - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    Word: exactly right, and did such a person make billions. Even the Super Greedy have to have reasonable judgement and brains beyond just loving money. A mystery we all hope disappears soon.
    Also, Biss must be thinking its a wonderful time not to be a billionaire.

  10. - Anon_with_a_ymous - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    Word: exactly right, and did such a person make billions. Even the Super Greedy have to have reasonable judgement and brains beyond just loving money. A mystery we all hope disappears soon.
    Also, Biss must be thinking its a wonderful time not to be a billionaire.

  11. - florida - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    “isn’t under criminal investigation”

    Whew indeed.

    Rich, are you perhaps suggesting that some investigation, criminal or not, might not be out of the question?

  12. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:04 am:

    ===are you perhaps suggesting===


  13. - Actual Red - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    I kind of think JB has shot most of his anti-Biss ammo already. There is the very big issue of pension reform, and a few other sorta-kinda bad bills or less than perfect campaign donors. I’d be surprised if there are any salacious scandals out there about Biss. I’ve been wrong before though.

  14. - a drop in - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:15 am:

    “That’s just spectacularly lousy for a governor who isn’t under criminal investigation.”

    For an Illinois governor, you always have to include “…yet”

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    ===I kind of think JB has shot most of his anti-Biss ammo already===

    Just a guess, but Google: Biss Fracking.

  16. - Retired Educator - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:23 am:

    Pritzker need to attack, attack, and attack some more. Sitting and waiting will cause him to lose ground. The ad by Durbin, needs to be repeated, and others who have endorsed Pritzker need to put ads in the can, and on the air. Winning weakly will be a problem running up to the General Election.

  17. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    Fracking ain’t a bad way to go.

    But I would nail Biss on his says one thing, does another approach to the Chicago Mercantile exchange.

    Blasting him for voting for huge taxpayer bailout of the corporate elite is a three-in-one: taxes, class, integrity.

  18. - Streator Curmudgeon - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    If you can’t get an endorsement, get an ironing board.

  19. - Blue dog dem - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:53 am:

    9%. Unless its Biss.

    Whats the dress code for this happy hour extravaganza.?

  20. - Retired Educator - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:54 am:

    Pritzker needs to attack, attack, then attack some more. He not only needs to win the primary, he needs to do it decisively. A weak win will make the road a lot harder going toward the general election. The pension thief Bliss can not muster the needed funds to counter Rauner. Kennedy is just to far away from winning to be considered, and has a very shallow revenue pool. If Pritzker wants this he needs to go all out now till election day.

  21. - Rocky Raccoon - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    Biss is incredibly lucky and is in a strong Position. JB and Kennedy are cannibilizing eachother bases, while Biss has locked down his hardcore progressive base, and Rauner is bankrolling Biss’s dirty work for him. JB and Kennedy have already peaked, while Biss has two main constituencies to grow his support: downstate and under 45 voters that broke for Sanders in 2016. All of the modeling data I have seen points to above average turnout which is in Biss’ favor. Biss just needs to keep us head down and keep grinding like he has been and he will come on strong down the last leg and win this thing by a nose.

  22. - Old time R - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 12:26 pm:

    -OW- So with all that money Ives getting any chance she wins and what’s the latest over under.

  23. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    “Biss is incredibly lucky and is in a strong Position.”

    Dan Biss has the support of only 7% of African-American Democratic voters in Cook County.

    For a candidate competing in an Illinois Democratic primary, that is something less than strong.

    – MrJM

  24. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    ====Dan Biss has the support of only 7% of African-American Democratic voters in Cook County.

    To take this one step further, African-American voters tend to decide late as well and I don’t see Daniel in the position to do well with them. Pritzker will have a good ground game and Kennedy has some leadership and name recognition.

  25. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 12:53 pm:

    =Rauner is Rauner. Running ad after ad, going after Pritzker as they, the Pritzker Crew, sits on its hands with things like Quincy and the blind trust=

    The difference is that Rauner is betting with house money. He doesn’t have a legitimate challenger and can afford to insert himself in the Democrat primary. Pritzker has challengers and he has to pick and choose how he engages. An all out assault on Rauner doesn’t really accomplish much if you can’t win the primary. Rauner did a very effective job of knocking Pritzker off balance. We’ll see if it was enough to take him out but for now Pritker’s not in attack mode he’s fighting for survival.

  26. - Rocky Raccoon - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 2:14 pm:

    The fact that Biss is in the hunt against two opponents with nearly universal name ID says a lot and he hasn’t even started running tv commercials Downstate or geared up his digital advertising which will help him consolidate two groups of voters he will perform well; downstate and under 45 voters.

    If Biss was running for Cook County Board President or heads up against JB he would be toast. Neither JB or Kennedy will be able to consolidate the African_American vote so as long as Biss can secure 20-25% of the AA vote he is in position to win this thing by a nose.

    Looking at the Presidential polling from 2016 Sanders come on incredibly strong the last month once he started communicating. JB and Kennedy have peaked and Biss is lucky he has a lot of pieces falling into place at the right time.

  27. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    “so as long as Biss can [triple his] AA vote he is in position to win this thing by a nose.”

    That’s possible, but it’ll be a huge lift.

    – MrJM

  28. - Pundent - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 4:28 pm:

    The challenge for Biss isn’t Pritzker it’s Kennedy. The only way that I see Biss substantially increasing his AA vote is if Kennedy bows out and is able to convince his voters to get behind Biss. Absent that I see it as a steep climb given where his downstate and AA support currently sits. And while Biss might want to campaign like Sanders his voting record would suggest otherwise.

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 5:01 pm:

    - 2016 Sanders come on incredibly strong the last month -

    Biss ain’t Sanders no matter how bad he wants to pretend he is.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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