The fear was that some rural guy who was showing a completely downstate bias toward government would come in and muck things up. That caused Chicago voters to care enough to turn out on Election Day and vote for governor.
WHETHER THAT WILL be the case again come Nov. 4 is something we’ll have to see. Because I do believe that if Chicago voters take an interest in the gubernatorial campaign, then Quinn wins.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner’s millions won’t even come close to displacing Pat from the Executive Mansion in Springfield (in which he rarely stays, preferring his own West Side-based house).
So when I’m looking at the latest polls coming from the We Ask America group, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m placing heavy emphasis on how Chicago-based voters feel about this campaign.
For the record, the latest such poll shows Quinn taking 64.64 percent of the vote, compared to 17.54 percent for Rauner. That’s a decent lead.
BUT IS IT enough to overcome the downstate Illinois lead of 59.24 percent to 27.34 percent that Rauner has over Quinn?
The numbers that really get to me are the undecideds. In Chicago, it’s 17.82 percent, while in the suburban part of Cook County, it’s 19.56 percent. Those are significantly high.
It’s the reason why political people look wary. It may be another four-plus months until Election Day, but those figures are kind of high.
Now if it turns out that all of those undecideds decide to vote for Pat Quinn, then he prevails. 80-percent plus support in Chicago and its inner suburbs is a strong enough margin of support that it would take a near miracle (one that not even Pat Brady could pull off) for Rauner to overcome.
ANYTHING LESS THAN all, and then Quinn might fall short statewide. Considering that the Rauner campaign strategy appears to be to create a sense of apathy amongst the kinds of voters who would prefer Quinn to him, there’s always a good chance that those undecideds will ultimately decide that they have better things to do Nov. 4 than wait in line at a polling place.
Now if you think I’m kidding about this regional factor, take into account the next two ranking Democratic nominees for statewide office – Secretary of State Jesse White and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
In Chicago, White has the kind of lead Quinn wishes he could have – 76.36 percent support to only 12.21 percent for Republican nominee Mike Webster.
Madigan does just as well in Chicago – 74.72 percent compared to 10.56 percent for Republican challenger Paul Schimpf.
OF COURSE, IT helps those two Dems that they have relatively-nothing opponents to run against on Election Day. Webster is a school board president in the outer Chicago suburbs, while Schimpf likes to campaign on the fact that he once served in the Marine Corps.
It’s not like Rauner has any more real experience in the ways and means of electoral politics. Then again, his fortune and a willingness to spend it to try to buy a certain neutral, non-specific image of himself while also demonizing his opposition (“Pat Quinn is Evil!”) can go a long way.
But will it be enough?
The reality of Chicago is that while we are a very politically-minded city, we are also very parochial. Governor is always the one post among the so-called majors that we are apathetic about.
MANY OF THOSE people who are ready to get worked up over an election are already focusing their attention on whether it is possible to dump Rahm Emanuel in the 2015 campaign cycle.
Which makes me wonder if they’re viewing this year’s election cycle is merely a prelude. Or perhaps a test run.
Try out some tactics against Rauner to see if they work. If so, they may wind up being used again against Emanuel come February.
And the Quinn campaign becomes the political equivalent of a guinea pig!