Poll shows race for Illinois governor virtual dead heat

January 26, 2010 4:15:57 PM PST
As the campaign heads into its final week, a new independent poll shows the Democratic race for Illinois governor is a virtual dead heat between Comptroller Dan Hynes and the incumbent, Governor Pat Quinn. This newest, independent survey was done over last weekend by a reputable North Carolina-based company trying to get some publicity for itself. Its problem is that it only contacted 400 voters statewide.

For a governor facing a primary campaign challenge, the timing could not have been better. Pat Quinn was at Chicago's Far South Side Ford assembly plant Tuesday to join in the announcement of 1,200 new jobs.

But challenger Dan Hynes and a half-dozen state lawmakers who had come to endorse the comptroller tried to downplay the governor's role in the news.

"No one can do it alone. We have a General Assembly, we have executive branch, a lot of that had to all go through the General Assembly, we were all part of that," said Sen. Willie Delgado, (D) Chicago.

"The governor doesn't seem to really have a vision for our state. He doesn't really have his priorities in order. He's not able to solve problems, but he is good at cutting ribbons," said Dan Hynes, (D) candidate for governor.

For the first time, a new independent poll is showing Hynes with a 1 point lead over the incumbent -- well within the nearly 5 point margin of error -- indicating the Democratic primary race is a dead heat.

The governor said the new jobs at Ford were the result of his effort to bring people together.

"Partnerships that create jobs and maintain jobs, and I had to work with Ford and the UAW and all the people in the legislature to get this done," said the governor.

The new poll is the result of a survey taken after the Hynes campaign began airing its controversial ad showing the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington criticizing Pat Quinn's performance nearly 27 years ago as city revenue director.

The governor's African-American political supporters have criticized the use of the iconic Washington's voice and image in an ad to support Hynes, whose father Tom was a political enemy of the city's first black mayor.

Tuesday afternoon, State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford became the first black elected official to endorse Hynes since the controversy began.

"It's a time for change, and I believe that Dan Hynes could lead us in that direction," said Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, (D) Chicago.

Poll shows Dillard leading in GOP primary

The public policy poll suggested a larger swing in the Republican primary for governor and a close race between as many as four of the six candidates. Senator Kirk Dillard leads with 19 percent. Not far behind and within the margin of error are Andy McKenna at 17 percent and Bill Brady at 16 percent. Former attorney general Jim Ryan who led last week's Chicago Tribune poll slips all the way to fourth place at 13 percent with Adam Andrzejewski at 11 and Dan Proft at 7 percent.

For Dillard, it was the best news from an independence polling source he'd heard since the campaign began.

"I think the momentum's there. I mean, clearly we have been rising in all the polls that we've seen, whether they're our own polls, or whether it's this poll. And momentum's important," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard, (R) candidate for governor.