October 16, 2009

Poll: Uncertain Races for Governor in Illinois

CARBONDALE, ILL. -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn leads his rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Comptroller Dan Hynes, by a two-to-one margin among likely primary voters, according to the latest survey by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

In the six-way race for the Republican nomination, there is no clear front-runner, as State Sen. Bill Brady’s slight lead over State Sen. Kirk Dillard is not statistically significant.

“What we see is a very fluid electoral environment,” said Charles Leonard, the Simon Institute Visiting Professor who supervised the poll, “particularly on the Republican side, on which a large field with low name recognition makes it anybody’s guess. On the Democratic side, half of the likely voters have still not made up their minds, though our poll looks very much like others we’ve seen that has Governor Quinn up two to one over Comptroller Hynes.”

David Yepsen, the institute’s director, said the poll shows a plurality of voters in each party have yet to decide on a preference. “The so-called ‘frontrunner’ in this race is someone named ‘Don’t Know.’ ”

By wide margins, registered voters in both parties also say the state is headed in the wrong direction and give two key leaders, House Speaker Michael Madigan and U.S. Senator Roland Burris, poor job approval ratings.

The Institute’s non-partisan survey is done to help Illinois policymakers, leaders and academic researchers better understand public opinion on key questions. The survey of 800 registered Illinois voters was taken Sept. 8 to Oct. 9 and has a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

Of those surveyed, 322 respondents said they would vote in the Democratic primary, and of those, 208 offered an answer. The results of the Democratic contest have a margin of error of ± 5.4 percent. There were 201 respondents who said they would vote in the Republican primary, and of those, 89 offered an answer. Those findings have a margin of error of ± 6.9 percent.

Results from the entire sample have a statistical margin for error of ± 3.4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. This means that if we were to conduct the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances the results would vary by no more than plus or minus 3.4 points from the results obtained here. The margin for error will be larger for demographic, geographic, and response subgroups.

Click here to view poll results.


The gubernatorial contest results and job approval ratings released Friday represent a few of the findings from the Simon Institute’s second annual statewide poll. Results of Illinois opinions on ethics and political reform measures will be released Monday morning in simultaneous 10:30 a.m. news conferences in the State Capitol in Springfield, and at the Institute on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus.

Results of voter opinions on the state budget—including tax hikes and budget cuts—will be released be e-mail Wednesday morning, Oct. 21. The poll’s findings on health care, abortion and gay marriage will be released later.

For more information, contact:

Charles Leonard, Visiting Professor, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, cell phone 618-303-9099

J. Tobin Grant, Associate Professor of Political Science, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, cell phone 618-559-2215.

John Jackson, Visiting Professor, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, office phone 618-453-4009.

David Yepsen, Director, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, cell phone 618-559-5854.