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New poll shows signs of trouble for Rauner's re-election chances

Bruce Rauner
Bruce Rauner

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s job approval rating has worsened in the wake of his budget vetoes and could spell trouble for his re-election chances next year, according to a new poll commissioned by the Democratic Governors Association.

The poll was conducted by Normington Petts and the findings were outlined in a memo released by the DGA, which show just 34 percent of likely Illinois voters approve of Rauner’s job performance while 63 percent disapprove.

Of those who approve, 8 percent said Rauner has done an “excellent” job and 26 percent said “good.” Forty-one percent of likely voters rated his performance as “poor,” while 26 percent said “not so good.”

“Not only do the common measures of political strength show weakness, but under the surface there are signs of significant trouble for Rauner’s re-election changes,” the memo said.

The memo notes one of the most “alarming” signs is Rauner’s negative job rating among white voters age 60 and older, which has increased 10 percentage points to 61 percent since January.

“Incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner remains extremely vulnerable with every measure of his political support below 40 percent,” according to the memo.

As for Rauner’s rating on the state budget, which was passed by the General Assembly on July 6 following a successful veto override, about 50 percent of voters polled said he had done a “poor” job on that issue.

The memo also pointed to the finding that just
17 percent of Republican voters say the governor is doing an “excellent” job, and two-thirds of Democratic voters rate his performance as “poor.”

Rauner’s negative job rating, the memo says, has increased by 8 percentage points to 68 percent in Chicago and by four percentage points to 54 percent in the collar counties. The poll also found Rauner trails a generic Democratic gubernatorial candidate by 12 percentage points (37 percent to 49 percent).

“These kinds of ratings create a plausible scenario of unenthused Republicans staying home and angry Democrats coming out in larger than expected numbers, which results in a wave across Illinois that will affect every candidate in 2018,” the memo said. “Rauner is on track to be an albatross around the neck of GOP candidates up and down the ballot.”

A poll conducted in March by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute pegged Rauner’s approval rating at 36 percent, compared to 58 percent who disapproved.

At the time, however, the Simon Institute poll showed Rauner’s waning approval rating still was higher than that of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The DGA poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, surveyed 600 likely Illinois voters from July 18-20 via landlines and cellphones.


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