J.B. Pritzker and Gov. Bruce Rauner have spent millions on their campaigns for governor, but a pair of newly released polls suggest neither wealthy candidate is getting much bang for his buck.
A poll taken this week finds Pritzker in a statistical dead heat with state Senator Daniel Biss in the heated Democratic gubernatorial primary race.
And a separate poll Biss commissioned for his campaign shows voters aren’t happy with either Pritzker or Rauner.
Both Rauner and Pritzker had more voters giving them unfavorable reviews than favorable — with the Republican governor fairing even worse in Blue-State Illinois than President Donald Trump. Biss’ poll also concludes that either Biss or Pritzker could easily beat Rauner in a general election match-up.
With 39 days before the primary election, the Public Policy Polling survey — commissioned by Biss — shows the state senator from Evanston had 47 percent of support, compared to 30 percent for the incumbent governor, should the two face up in the November election.
Pritzker leads Rauner 48 percent to 35 percent in the “hypothetical matchup.” It also noted that only 33 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of Pritzker, while 42 percent had an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur.
Asked about Rauner, 63 percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion, and only 26 percent had a favorable view. Trump’s unfavorable rating was at 58 percent, with 37 percent giving him a favorable review.
That poll was taken Monday and Tuesday of 866 Illinois voters, with the margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
A Chicago Tribune article — posted on the newspaper’s website Monday evening — revealed secretly recorded FBI wiretaps of a 2008 conversation between Pritzker and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Pritzker pitched Secretary of State Jesse White to Blagojevich as the “least offensive” choice to fill the Senate seat being vacated by then President-elect Barack Obama.
“I regret some of the things I didn’t say and some of the things that I did,” Pritzker said Tuesday.
The Pritzker campaign, in turn, said “it’s unclear why Dan Biss is polling a general election we haven’t gotten to yet,” adding that “it’s great to see that even after millions of dollars of Bruce Rauner’s negative attack ads, JB is still crushing the failed governor.”
Another poll, commissioned by Victory Research, found Pritzker ahead by just a tiny margin over Biss in the heated gubernatorial primary race. The pollster called the race a “dead heat.” The company, however, is led by Rod McCulloch, a former Republican strategist who was convicted of falsifying signatures in 2008.
McCulloch — who said he’s an independent pollster with more Democratic than Republican clients — defended the poll’s results: “Every pollster, one or two in their history they get it wrong, and that happens to everybody. But the last 25 years, I’ve been pretty accurate.”
The poll — which reported a 2.82 percentage point margin of error — surveyed 1,209 likely Democratic primary voters on Tuesday and Wednesday and has Pritzker ahead by just over 3 percentage points.
It found 27 percent backing Pritzker, 23.7 percent supporting Biss; 17.3 percent saying they’ll vote for businessman Chris Kennedy; 2 percent supporting former CeaseFire director Tio Hardiman; 1.9 percent supporting Madison County Schools Supt. Bob Daiber, and 0.7 percent in support of Burr Ridge physician Robert Marshall.
A whopping 27.5 percent of voters were still uncertain of whom they’ll vote for in the March 20 primary.
Of African-American voters polled, 28.1 percent said they still supported Pritzker; 22.9 percent supported Kennedy, and 20.3 percent said they’d vote for Biss. There were still 18.2 percent of American-American voters that were undecided, according to the poll.
Voters were also asked who their second choice would be for governor. About 46 percent of Pritzker voters chose Kennedy; 21.5 percent chose Biss. Of Biss voters, 17.8 percent chose Pritzker, and 66.1 percent chose Kennedy. Of Kennedy voters, 24.4 percent said their second choice was Pritzker, while 52.3 percent chose Biss.
Pritzker’s campaign went on defense regarding the poll, claiming McCulloch has “repeatedly managed to conjure up numbers to the benefit of whoever was paying him or whatever agenda he was advancing at the time.”
“We are confident that JB is the best candidate to beat Bruce Rauner and a fraudulent, Republican pollster certainly isn’t going to change that,” Pritzker spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement.