Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker holds a 16 percentage point advantage over a deeply unpopular Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner heading into the closing months of the general election campaign, an NBC News/Marist poll showed Tuesday.
The poll found Pritzker with 46 percent support compared to 30 percent for Rauner with another 13 percent undecided — a relatively low figure at this stage of political campaigns. The survey found Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson with 6 percent and Republican state Sen. Sam McCann of Plainview, running under the Conservative Party banner, with 4 percent.
The survey, conducted for NBC News by the Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., surveyed 831 adults from Aug. 12-16, and has an error margin of 4.2 percentage points. Those polled included 734 registered voters.
The poll found that among Illinois residents surveyed, Rauner was viewed unfavorably by 52 percent, while only little more than a quarter of voters, 26 percent, had a favorable impression of him.
Despite Rauner’s extensive advertising to damage Pritzker, which dated back to before the March primary, the Democratic candidate was viewed favorably by 38 percent and unfavorably by 35 percent. Another 27 percent were unsure or had no opinion of Pritzker.
The poll showed Pritzker ahead of Rauner among self-described independent voters 43 percent to 25 percent and among those with a moderate ideology, 50 percent to 25 percent. Rauner had the advantage among self-described conservatives 55 percent to 20 percent and was backed by 71 percent of supporters of Donald Trump despite the governor’s aversion to speaking about the controversial president.
Pritzker led Rauner 58 percent to 21 percent among Cook County and Chicago voters while the Republican governor had a narrow 40 percent to 34 percent advantage in what has been the traditionally GOP leaning collar counties, the poll showed. Among Downstate voters, both men split voters in northern sections of the state while Pritzker had a 10 percentage point advantage in central and southern Illinois which is a critical area of support for Rauner.
Rauner has sought to appeal to African-American voters in his campaign but Pritzker is backed by 78 percent of blacks compared with 5 percent for Rauner, the poll found, while white voters were split almost equally between the two. Latino voters favored Pritzker 44 percent to 26 percent.
Support from men and women was almost equal for both candidates. Pritzker led among men, 45 percent to 31 percent, and among women, 46 percent to 29 percent, the survey showed.
The survey also found Illinois, which backed Democrat Hillary Clinton for the presidency in 2016 by 17 percentage points, showing little support for Trump among registered voters.
By a 2-to-1 ratio, 60 percent have an unfavorable impression of the president while 30 percent view him favorably, the poll showed.
As for how Trump is doing his job, 56 percent disapprove while 31 percent approve. Among those surveyed, 43 percent said they strongly disapproved of the president’s job performance while 19 percent strongly approved.
In addition, 57 percent of voters said more Democrats were needed in Congress to serve as a check on Trump’s power, while 32 percent said more Republicans should be in Congress to help the president’s agenda, the poll showed.
By: Rick Pearson
Article Photo: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker. (Chicago Tribune photos)