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Doug Finke

Prognosticator gives Rauner little chance of winning again

Sabato says state is 'likely Democratic,' but he was wrong on Hillary

Sabato says state is 'likely Democratic,' but he was wrong on Hillary

At least one prognosticator had some bad news for Gov. Bruce Rauner last week.

Larry Sabato is a political scientist at the University of Virginia who publishes “Sabato’s Crystal Ball, “ which makes predictions in election contests around the country.

Until last week, Sabato had the Illinois race for governor listed as “Leans Democratic,” as in Democrats have a slightly better chance of winning the seat than Republicans. Last week, though, Sabato moved the Illinois governor contest into the “Likely Democratic” category.

Sabato said the “contest appears increasingly uncompetitive.” He cited Rauner’s narrow primary win over conservative Jeanne Ives as an indication that the GOP base is frustrated. He said polls show Democrat J.B. Pritzker with consistent leads and Pritzker having the financial resources to go toe-to-toe with Rauner. Finally, he said Conservative Party candidate Sam McCann is likely to take some votes from Rauner.

In conclusion, Sabato said “we now view Illinois as the likeliest party flip among the 36 gubernatorial contests in 2018.”

Having said all of that, remember a couple of things. It is Sabato’s opinion, and there is still more than 3 months to go in the campaign. ... Plus Rauner can take some solace from Sabato’s prediction in the 2016 presidential race. He predicted a win for Hillary Clinton, including a 322-216 win in the Electoral College. No one’s perfect.

• A little over a week ago, Rauner was at a political event in Rosemont with Vice President Mike Pence.

Rauner introduced the vice president, even though he has been fairly loathe to even utter the president’s name. And Rauner did a good job of laying it on. Rauner said Pence is “one of the greatest leaders in American history.” That covers quite a bit of time and quite a few leaders.

Rauner wasn’t finished, adding, “The American economy is roaring today. Rising family incomes, higher wages, higher quality of life. Why? Because Vice President Pence, President Trump, working with Republican leaders, have cut the tax burden of the people of America.”

Of course, Rauner caught flak from Democrats for cozying up to the Donald Trump administration.

Pence made a return trip to Illinois last week, visiting the Metro East area. In the lead-up to the visit, Democrats were putting out statements about whether Rauner would show up and again heap praise on the vice president and by extension the president. Rauner didn’t. Instead, he was in Washington, D.C., to receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

Bet not many people saw that coming.

• Rauner was positively chatty last week – at least he was for a while.

Rauner made a number of official appearances during the week. ...

When Rauner makes an official appearance, he may be willing to take questions from whatever reporters show up to the event, or he may choose to just deal with the event and not answer questions. When the latter is the case, his schedule will say “no additional media availability.”

And it’s worth noting that when Rauner makes multiple appearances on one day, he may answer questions at one event, but usually not at the others.

But as we said, he was talkative last week. Rauner had two events Monday and took questions at both. On Tuesday, his schedule had five appearances and he took questions at four of them. Wednesday had two appearances and one question period.

Alas, all of that talking must have taken something out of him. On Thursday Rauner didn’t take questions in D.C. And Friday, he made two appearances in Chicago and didn’t take questions at either of them.

Prognosticator gives Rauner little chance of winning again The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., Doug Finke column0aeeb541-39c0-4c83-bad4-33a1a3e98f66/image-pv_web.jpgshaw-push-component-1