Does Lisa Madigan have a race on her hands?

A new poll looking at the contest for Illinois Attorney General shows the Democratic incumbent leading her Republican opponent Paul Schimpf by just 9 percentage points.

The poll was paid for by Schimpf, a retired Marine and newcomer to Illinois politics. But the numbers suggest that Madigan’s overall popularity with voters may be starting to erode. 

Long among the most popular politicians in Illinois, Lisa Madigan, according to the survey conducted by McKeon & Associates, has fallen under the 50 percent support mark.

The survey of 800 very likely voters asked if the election were held today for whom would they vote — Democrat  Lisa Madigan or Republican Paul Schimpf. 

Of those queried,  46 percent chose Madigan, 37 percent selected newcomer Schimpf and another 17 percent were undecided.

The poll also took the pulse of the race for governor, finding Republican Bruce Rauner leading Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn, 40 percent to 34 percent.  Another 26 percent were undecided.

The telephone poll also included a series of questions gauging what voters were looking for in a candidate for attorney general. And some of those questions — asked before the “who-would-you-vote-for” question — could be seen as casting Madigan in a less than favorable light.

One question asked whether the person surveyed would be more or less likely to vote for someone whose “Father is Illinois Speaker of the House and as Attorney General has rarely pursued political corruption cases.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, 60 percent said that would make them less likely or not likely at all to vote for the candidate, and only 13 percent said it would make them somewhat more likely to vote for her.  

Still, the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is sitting atop a giant pile of unspent cash that she can tap at any time. Money poured into Lisa Madigan’s campaign fund last year when she flirted with a run for governor but backed off after her father refused to step down from his powerful position. 

The survey of 800  very likely voters in the Illinois was conducted by phone over the July 9-10 time period by McKeon & Associates. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. More than 30 percent of the respondents were interviewed on their cell phones. 

Lisa Madigan’s margin over Schimpf is must greater when it comes to fund-raising.  She has $4.8 million in her campaign account. Schimpf, by comparison, has shown anemic fund-raising, with a meager $8,000 in funds in his fund after raising about $27,000 in the last three months.