Friday, March 2, 2018

Does downstate Illinois really love Quinn now? Or just afraid of unknown?

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University came out with its own poll recently for the upcoming primary elections, and there’s little surprising about its conclusion that Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker are the favorites for victory come March 20.
Has downstate forgiven Pat Quinn?

But I did find one aspect amusing – the portion that relates to the Illinois attorney general’s office.

ON THE SURFACE, it would indicate that Kwame Raoul, a state senator from the Hyde Park neighborhood, and Erika Harold, of Champaign, would be the favorites – although not by much. In a sense, a University of Chicago vs. University of Illinois election.

On the Republican side, it seems that nearly two-thirds of would-be GOP voters don’t have a clue who either Harold or challenger Gary Grasso are.

For the Democrats, there are eight candidates, but only two of them have any sizable following. As in Raoul and none other than Pat Quinn, our state’s former governor, who’s hoping to use the attorney general post as a way of achieving a political comeback.

According to the poll, Raoul has 22 percent support, compared to 18 percent for Quinn – with none of the others above 10 percent, and some 39 percent undecided.

BUT WHAT INTRIGUES me is the part that tried showing the regional breakdowns – where Raoul has 25 percent support in Chicago and 24 percent support in the suburbs. But Quinn is the leader in downstate Illinois.
Will it wind up being a Raoul vs. ...

The Mighty Quinn has some 25 percent support of downstate voters who will cast ballots in the Democratic primary, compared to 10 percent for Raoul.

“So what!,” you may ask. It might seem obvious that a lowly state legislator with little-to-no name recognition outside of his specific Senate district on the South Side would lag behind a guy who has been a part of the political scene for nearly as long as Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, himself.

Which is true, since Quinn served on the staff of then-Gov. Dan Walker back in the early 1970s, before going on to other roles – including the “cut back” action that reduced the Illinois House by one-third in the early 1980s.
... Harold brawl following the March 20 primary?

BUT IF ONE remembers back to 2014, the reason that Quinn lost to Rauner is supposedly because he was weak in downstate Illinois.

Actually, despised is more the word that was used to describe why rural voters were willing to back a rich guy from the North Shore suburbs over Quinn. The only county out of Illinois’ 102 that Quinn won was Cook. The rest of the state map from November 2014 was a solid shade of red.

Even in the primary election held in March of that year, there was evidence that Quinn was not the preferred candidate outside of Chicago.

Quinn actually managed to lose the vote in a few counties of Southern Illinois, where the distaste for Quinn was such that they voted for opponent Tio Hardiman – even though I suspect they knew nothing about him, and when they eventually learned of his views on gun control (he’s heavily concerned about urban violence – head of the CeaseFire Illinois group), they wished they could vote for nobody.

HARDIMAN IS ACTUALLY trying again to run for governor this time, and the Simon Institute poll shows him running last out of the six candidates with zero percent in downstate Illinois. Even perpetual fringe candidate Robert Marshall manages with 1 percent support.
How many of Tio's '14 backers still support him for gov?

So what does it say that many of the people eager to dump Quinn back in ’14 now seem to be supporting him? Should we regard that election cycle as a fluke? Or is the fluke the election cycle occurring now?

Is Quinn being forgiven for the misdeeds people constantly accused him of four years ago. Or perhaps it is the sight of what we replaced Quinn with for the past few years that makes some people think perhaps he ought to be given another chance.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how this eight-way electoral fight manages to turn out, since it will be possible for someone with only about 25 percent support to win the Democratic nomination. Which could wind up being Raoul – although I’ll admit the thought of a Quinn/Harold debate come October is one I’d find amusing.


No comments: