February 14, 2013

Simon Poll: Dems favor Lisa Madigan; GOP open

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale shows most Illinois Republicans are undecided about which candidate to support as the 2014 race for governor opens.

Illinois Democrats give a plurality of their support to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in a hypothetical primary match up with Gov. Pat Quinn and former U.S. Commerce Secretary and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, according to the Simon Poll.

 “As the curtain goes up on these contests, the nominations in both parties are up for grabs,” said David Yepsen, director of the Institute.  “”t seems early to be talking about primary elections so soon after the November presidential election, but the Illinois primary is just over a year away -- March 2014 -- and campaigns are already at work. This poll gives us a good snapshot of the contests as they begin.”

Results of the poll are available here.

The poll of 600 registered voters in Illinois was taken Jan 27 to Feb 8. The statewide sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.  The smaller subsamples of Republicans and Democrats have larger margins of error.

In the race for governor, the survey found:

  • On the Republican side, 53.2 percent of likely GOP primary voters said they are undecided about a candidate.   State Treasurer Dan Rutherford captured 10.2 percent of the vote; state Senator Bill Brady won 9.7 percent; Congressman Aaron Schock won 9.1 percent; former Congressman Joe Walsh won 5.9 percent; and state Senator Kirk Dillard garnered 3.2 percent.
  • Among Democrats, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn faces serious competition from Madigan and Daley.  The poll showed 31.9 percent for Madigan, 22.9 percent for Quinn, and Daley picked up 11.9 percent.  A sizeable group -- 28.4 percent -- was undecided.
  • Many Illinois voters are in a bad mood.   There are 41.7 percent who feel the country is on the right track and 48.5 percent who believe it is headed in the wrong direction.   By comparison, 75 percent feel the state is headed in the wrong direction and only 15.8 percent see it on the right path.  Quinn’s job approval remains poor, with 32.8 percent approving of the job he’s doing and 51.3 percent disapproving.  In last summer’s Simon Poll, Quinn’s job approval rating was almost 10 percentage points higher: 42.2 percent positive and 49 percent negative.
  • People feel a little better about their hometowns and regions.  There are 53.7 percent who see their region headed in the right direction and 34.8 percent who see it going in the wrong direction.

In addition to the campaign questions, the poll measured attitudes toward current public policy issues in the state and those results will be released in the coming days.  Topics include gun control issues, pension reform, state budget questions, abortion, gay marriage, gambling and redistricting.

For this poll, the Institute surveyed 600 registered voters across the state, Jan. through Feb. 8, resulting in a statistical margin for error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. The Democratic subsample of 310 respondents has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points, and the Republican subsample of 186 respondents has a margin of error of 7.2 percentage points.

The questionnaire was available in both English and Spanish, and a Spanish-speaking interviewer was made available. The sample also included two-thirds landline phones and one-third cell phones. The Simon Institute developed the questionnaire, and live phone interviews were administered by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas, which reports no Illinois political clients. The Institute paid for the project out of non-state funds from its endowment.

The director of the poll is Charles Leonard, visiting professor at the Institute.

Note:  The “Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Poll,” the “Simon Poll” and the “Southern Illinois Poll” are the copyrighted trademarks of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University.  Use and publication of these polls is encouraged -- we ask only that you credit it to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.