October 03, 2018

Simon Poll shows Pritzker holds lead in November election

CARBONDALE, Ill. — With one month to go in the campaign, a statewide poll of registered voters by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute shows Democrat J.B. Pritzker holds a comfortable lead in the race for Illinois governor. 

The Simon Poll™ also shows a relatively small number of undecided voters ahead of the Nov. 6 general election. 

Pritzker leads Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner by 22 points, 49 percent to 27 percent. Four percent selected conservative candidate Sam McCann, a state senator from Plainview, with 4 percent for Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson of Antioch. The remaining 17 percent were undecided. 

Voters were asked, “If the election were held today … who would you vote for?” 

Pritzker leads Rauner in several demographics 

Pritzker leads Rauner in Chicago 65 percent to 22 percent, and in the five suburban collar counties, 53 percent to 23 percent. The two were essentially tied downstate with Pritzer at 35 percent and Rauner at 34 percent. 

Among likely Democrat voters, Pritzker holds an 81 to 6 percent lead while Rauner has a 67 percent to 6 percent lead among Republicans. McCann garnered 7 percent among Republican voters while Jackson has 6 percent among Republicans. 

Attorney General race has high percentage of undecided voters 

Meanwhile, in the other high profile statewide constitutional office race for Illinois Attorney General, State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, held a 10 percent lead (36 to 26 percent) over Republican Erika Harold, a Champaign attorney, with 39 percent undecided. 

Raoul led in Chicago, 50 percent to 23 percent with 26 percent undecided and in collar counties, 41 percent to 25 percent with 34 percent undecided. Harold, meanwhile, led downstate Illinois 27 percent to 19 percent, with 53 percent undecided. 

“There is an unusually large percentage of undecided voters in this race perhaps reflecting the low level of attention it has received compared to the high-profile governor’s race,” said John T. Shaw, institute director. “This indicates that this race is still very much dependent on the late deciders.” 

Still time for candidates to make a ‘significant difference’ 

John Jackson, a visiting professor at the institute, said that while Democrats “clearly have an advantage in both of these high-profile races at this point” the election is still on month away. 

The campaigns and the candidates’ closing arguments and get out the vote efforts can still make a significant difference by then,” Jackson said. 

Democrats more enthusiastic about voting next month 

Voters were also asked whether they were more or less enthusiastic about voting. The results showed that Democrats are 19 percent (70 to 51 percent) more enthusiastic than Republicans about going to vote in November. Among independent voters, 50 percent said they were more enthusiastic with 26 percent saying they were less enthusiastic. 

Liberal voters were also more enthusiastic, 73 percent to 14 percent than conservative voters, 61 percent to 24 percent. 

“Illinois Democrats are displaying greater enthusiasm about this midterm election than are Republicans or independents. The so-called “enthusiasm gap” is comparable to what we have been seeing across the country for some time” said Charlie Leonard, a Simon Institute visiting professor. “If it holds up and is reflected in comparable turnout numbers, it will be a major advantage for the Democrats. 

Detailed poll results are available online. 

Sample size and margin of error 

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points and covered a sample of 1,001 registered voters. The election analysis presented is based on 715 likely voters where the margin of error is 3.7 percentage points. This means that if we conducted the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances, the population proportion would be within plus or minus the reported margin of error for each subsample. For subsamples, the margin of error increases as the sample size goes down. The margin of error was not adjusted for design effects. 

Polling methodology 

Live telephone interviews were conducted by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas using the random digit dialing method. The telephone sample was provided to Customer Research International by Scientific Telephone Samples. 

Potential interviewees were screened based on whether they were registered voters and quotas based on area code and sex (<60 percent female). The sample obtained 52 percent male and 48 percent female respondents. 

Interviewers asked to speak to the youngest registered voter at home at the time of the call. Cell phone interviews accounted for 60 percent of the sample. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were made available. 

Fieldwork was conducted from Sept.24 through Sept. 29. No auto-dial or “robo” polling is included. Customer Research International reports no Illinois political clients. The survey was paid for with non-tax dollars from the Institute’s endowment fund. The data were not

weighted in any way. Crosstabs for the referenced questions will be on the Institute’s polling web site, simonpoll.org

Polling data available for use by scholars and the public

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative. AAPOR works to encourage objective survey standards for practice and disclosure. Membership in the Transparency Initiative reflects a pledge to practice transparency in reporting survey-based findings. 

The Institute’s polling data are also archived by four academic institutions for use by scholars and the public. The four open source data repositories are: