CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new poll shows Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has a significant lead over his Republican challenger Darren Bailey, even downstate.
The Sun-Times/WBEZ poll shows Pritzker leading by 15 percentage points, with 49% to Bailey's 34%, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.
"Right after the primary you know Pritzker went up big time with paid media, negative media and it seems like he was really able to define Bailey before Bailey had a chance to define himself," said Jim Williams, Public Policy Polling.
But perhaps even more surprising than the statewide gap is how Bailey is faring downstate. While the margin of error is wider, the poll shows he and Pritzker are tied at 40% each in Bailey's theoretical stronghold.
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"It's says something about Bailey's strength as a candidate. He's pretty well known, he seems like a likable guy, he presents well to the voters, but voters are just not excited about him," said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington.
While Bailey has made crime and safety his top campaign issue, and Pritzker has focused a lot of attention on abortion, the poll showed voters were most concerned about the economy and jobs.
"It suggests that both candidate are really trying to come out with messages that appeal to their base. For Pritzker it's protecting abortion rights, for Bailey it's doing something about crime and focusing on those two things and their kind of talking past each other," Williams said.
Bailey just released his first TV ad since the primary, once again highlighting crime and blaming Pritzker. The governor's latest ads target Bailey for so-called extremist views and misinformation.
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Bailey has a lot of ground to make up before the election, and not much time to do it.
"Catching up will be very difficult for him. Maybe he'll have a big splashy performance in the debate next week, that could be something that could turn things around for him. He need something to turn the momentum around," Washington said.
Bailey's campaign said any poll that shows Bailey trailing downstate is "fake or misguided," promising he will outperform the polling numbers.
Pritzker's campaign declined to comment.
There was one other interesting nugget in the poll: only 13% of likely voters want Pritzker to run for president.