Public Policy Institute poll looks at key Illinois races

A statewide poll of registered voters by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute showed Democrat J.B. Pritzker with a comfortable lead in the race for Illinois governor. 

Results of the Simon Poll, which were released in early October, also showed a relatively small number of undecided voters ahead of the Nov. 6 general election. 

Pritzker led Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner by 22 points, 49 percent to 27 percent. Four percent selected conservative candidate Sam McCann, a state senator from Plainview, with 4 percent for Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson of Antioch. The remaining 17 percent were undecided. 

Voters were asked, “If the election were held today... who would you vote for?” 

Pritzker led Rauner in Chicago 65 percent to 22 percent, and in the five suburban collar counties, 53 percent to 23 percent. The two were essentially tied downstate, with Pritzer at 35 percent and Rauner at 34 percent. 

Among likely Democrat voters, Pritzker held an 81 to 6 percent lead, while Rauner has a 67 percent to 6 percent lead among Republicans. 

McCann garnered 7 percent among Republican voters while Jackson has 6 percent among Republicans. 

In the other high profile statewide constitutional office race for Illinois attorney general, State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, held a 10 percent lead (36 to 26 percent) over Republican Erika Harold, a Champaign attorney, with 39 percent undecided. 

Raoul led in Chicago, 50 percent to 23 percent, with 26 percent undecided and in collar counties, 41 percent to 25 percent with 34 percent undecided. 

Harold, meanwhile, led downstate Illinois 27 percent to 19 percent, with 53 percent undecided. 

“There is an unusually large percentage of undecided voters in this race perhaps reflecting the low level of attention it has received compared to the high-profile governor’s race,” said John T. Shaw,  the director of the institute. “This indicates that this race is still very much dependent on the late deciders.” 

John Jackson, a visiting professor at the institute, said that while Democrats “clearly have an advantage in both of these high-profile races at this point” the election is still one month away. 

The campaigns and the candidates’ closing arguments and get out the vote efforts can still make a significant difference by then,” Jackson said. 

Voters were also asked whether they were more or less enthusiastic about voting. 

The results showed that Democrats are 19 percent (70 to 51 percent) more enthusiastic than Republicans about going to vote in November. 

Among independent voters, 50 percent said they were more enthusiastic with 26 percent saying they were less enthusiastic. 

Liberal voters were also more enthusiastic, 73 percent to 14 percent than conservative voters, 61 percent to 24 percent. 

“Illinois Democrats are displaying greater enthusiasm about this midterm election than are Republicans or independents. The so-called “enthusiasm gap” is comparable to what we have been seeing across the country for some time” said Charlie Leonard, a Simon Institute visiting professor. 

“If it holds up and is reflected in comparable turnout numbers, it will be a major advantage for the Democrats. 

The Gazette-Democrat

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