SPRINGFIELD – It’s a tired old cliché from politicians that the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day.
Boy, was that ever true last week.
Venture capitalist Bruce Rauner won the Republican nomination for governor, of course, but not by anywhere near the blowout the polls had predicted leading up to Tuesday’s election.
Rauner beat out state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale by 3 percentage points, getting about 40 percent of the vote to Dillard’s 37 percent. That’s a far cry from the double-digit leads most polls showed Rauner with just days before the election. In some of them, Dillard would have had to more than double his support to win.
A lot of analysts gave unions, particularly those representing public employees, credit for making the race closer than the opinion polls indicated. Dillard was the only viable option to the union-bashing Rauner. Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s legal troubles took him out of the running, and Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington voted for the pension reforms detested by unions.
The problem, of course, is that finishing second means nothing. So, the public employee union voters out there now have a choice between Gov. Pat Quinn, champion of the pension reforms that they hate, or Rauner, who said those reforms didn’t go far enough.
Rauner said current pension plans should be frozen and all workers moved into a 401(k)-style retirement plan. Withholding support for Quinn just enhances Rauner’s chances, so that really isn’t much of an option.
This could be a painful election season for union voters.
Rush to vilify
results in ‘oops’
By the way, the rush to vilify the opponent resulted in the first oops of the campaign season.
Quinn’s campaign produced a video comparing Rauner to the villainous C. Montgomery Burns, the mega-moneybags owner of the nuclear power plant in the TV series “The Simpsons.” As Quinn videos go, it was far better than Squeezy.
Alas, Fox Broadcasting doesn’t allow clips from the show to be used in political campaigns. The video soon disappeared.