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New poll: Rauner maintains big lead in GOP gov's race

A now-ended series of attack ads paid for by labor unions appears to have done little damage to private equity investor Bruce Rauner with a new poll Wednesday showing support growing for the frontrunner in the four-way Republican primary for governor.

Rauner stands at 46 percent in the latest tracking survey released by We Ask America, more than 20 percentage points ahead of his next-closest rival, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, who registered at 26 percent. Coming in third in the poll was state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, with 19 percent, and trailing the pack is state Treasurer Dan Rutherford, with 9 percent.

The polling firm, which is an independent subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, conducted its automated poll of 1,235 likely Republican voters on Tuesday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

“Clearly, it would take an enormous shift in the political universe’s primordial ooze for anyone in the field to catch Bruce Rauner,” the firm said in a statement posting its results. “The big chunk of cash unions spent against him on negative ads may have had an effect on his long-term viability, but the Republican voting universe isn’t buying it.”

The ranking of the candidates has not shifted since the firm’s March 4 polling, when Rauner had 40 percent of the vote, Dillard 14 percent, Brady 12 percent and Rutherford 8 percent. In that survey, nearly 26 percent of those surveyed were undecided.