Republican challenger Bruce Rauner leads Democrat incumbent Pat Quinn by eight points, according to a new poll conducted by the Illinois Mirror and Where America Stands.
In a survey of likely voters conducted Sept. 17, Rauner garners 44.9% of the vote, compared with 36.7% for Quinn and just 1.2% for Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm. About 17% of respondents said they remain undecided about whom they’ll vote for in the Illinois governor’s race.
Among those who identified themselves as Democrats, Quinn got nearly 69% of the vote, while Rauner got 12%. Among Republicans, Rauner got 82% and Quinn 4%. Independents went 45% for Rauner and 31% for Quinn.
Among women, 41% said they’d vote for Rauner, while 38% said they were in favor of Quinn. Men favored Rauner by a larger margin, 49% to 35%.
It should also be noted that Rauner leads Quinn by nearly double digits in a poll that has a +5% advantage to Democrats.
It’ll be interesting to see how the mainstream media covers this poll. In the past few weeks, newspaper reporters and columnists gave little coverage to a poll that showed Rauner up by about 11 points, but trumpeted three subsequent polls – including one from the Democratic Governors Association – showing incumbent Pat Quinn ahead by single digits.
None of this comes as a surprise to us, given the liberal bent of the Illinois press corps. We take particular exception with the most-recent Chicago Tribune poll. No serious and objective news organization would publish a poll of registered voters six or seven weeks before an election. That’s exactly what the Tribune did, and they know better.
Most pollsters will tell you that there’s a huge difference between registered voters and likely voters. Especially in Illinois, where registered Democrats outnumber outnumber Republicans and, therefore, any poll of registered voters will unfairly favor Democrats. That’s why it was important for the Mirror and Where America Stands to conduct a poll of likely voters.
What made the Tribune poll even more biased was that Rick Pearson trumpeted the heavily Democratic, partisan poll, saying it mirrored one taken just ahead of Barack Obama’s 2008 election. This, again, is misleading, because no serious pollster (or seasoned political reporter) expects Democrats to turn out for Pat Quinn and other candidates in the upcoming midterm elections the way they did for Obama in ’08. Again, Pearson and the Tribune know this.
Not only does the Mirror poll take the pulse of likely voters – a more accurate reflection of who will show up at the polls in early November – but our polling partner, Where America Stands, came the closest to predicting the outcome of the Republican Primary. In short, Where America Stands has more credibility when it comes to gauging the likely outcome of Illinois political races.
For all these reasons, it’ll be interesting to see how the Illinois media – especially Rick Pearson – treat this poll. If they’re in this to change the narrative of the campaign for the candidate they all favor, they’ll ignore it. And it will be at their own peril.
We’ll keep watching…and reporting.