The PJ Tatler

Left-Leaning Poll: Republicans Could Win the Illinois

We in Texas hear a lot (a lot, you have no idea how much unless you’re here) about how the Democrats are finally gonna turn this big red state blue. It’s just around the corner. Really. Honest to goodness. They keep saying it, the media keeps repeating it, and the voters just keep spoiling their party.

You don’t hear the GOP go out and say “This is the year we finally turn Wisconsin red!” They just sort of do it, like Scott Walker.

It usually gets done when the Democrats just finally run out of gas and the Republicans finally nominate a worthy candidate. Like Scott Walker.

The above was a long-winded way of hiding my utter shock at what I’m about to report. Public Policy Polling — the goofy lefty pollster that once had Barack Obama leading Rick Perry in Texassays Illinois’ governor’s race is winnable for the Republicans.

Illinois. One of the states that Barack Obama calls home.

PPP’s newest Illinois poll finds that the race for Governor next year is a toss up. Pat Quinn continues to be one of the most unpopular Governors in the country, but the Democratic lean of the state is enough to still make him neck and neck in hypothetical contests with the Republicans vying to take him on next fall.

Only 34% of voters approve of the job Quinn is doing to 60% who disapprove. That ties him for the third most unpopular Governor in the country. That’s actually an improvement for Quinn though- his numbers are up from a 25/64 approval spread a year ago at this time, which had made him the most unpopular Governor anywhere. He’s seen a little bit of improvement with Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.

In match ups with his potential GOP foes Quinn leads Bruce Rauner 41/38, trails Dan Rutherford 41/39, and ties both Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard at 41% and 39% respectively. Quinn trails by 4-7 points with independents and loses 13-15% of the Democratic vote in each of the match ups.

It’s obvious but I’ll say it anyway — none of that is good for Quinn at all. It’s all very good for whoever ends up representing the GOP atop the ballot. Quinn is unpopular, but he’s not the only reason that Illinois is looking competitive — according to PPP. Some of the Democrats’ problem has to be their support for Barack Obama. PPP finds that too, with Obama at just 50% approval even in Illinois. With 46% disapproval, he’s in the poll noise.

Just out of curiosity we tested to see how some other Democrats would fare against Rutherford, and although they do better than Quinn it looks like this race would be competitive no matter who the Democrats put forward next year. Lisa Madigan would lead Rutherford by 5 points at 45/40, Rahm Emanuel would lead him by 2 at 40/38, and Dan Hynes would be tied at 34.

Caveats: This is one poll. It’s PPP. It’s early. The poll doesn’t take corrupt machine politics and dirty tricks into account. But still.

Maybe Battleground Texas should pull up stakes — no one really wants them here anyway, as this is a Republican state and their presence exposes the ineffectiveness of the local Democrats — and head north. I-35 will get them where they’re more welcome in a straight shot.

Road trip! One way.