The Chicago Tribune just took a pair of polls to find out who’s more popular in Illinois, President Barack Obama or Gov. Pat Quinn. Democrats should be relieved this is a presidential election year, not a gubernatorial election year.
Obama’s statewide approval rating is 53 percent, which is several points higher than his popularity nationwide. But in his hometown of Chicago, Obama’s approval rating is an amazing 82 percent.
Quinn, on the other hand, has an approval rating of 30 percent, “its lowest level since early September 2010, when it registered at 28 percent.”
The dim view of Quinn comes a year after the governor and fellow Democrats steered Illinois in a more liberal direction by approving a major income-tax increase, abolishing the death penalty and legalizing civil unions. Despite the tax hike, state government remains mired in debt, limiting Quinn and legislative leaders' ability to move Illinois forward.
Both Quinn and Obama are unpopular Downstate, which seems to have permanently shifted its allegiances to the Republican Party, after being a Democratic stronghold since the days of Andrew Jackson. But here are some encouraging numbers for Democrats. Obama’s approval-disapproval rating is 63-30 in suburban Cook County, and 48-44 in the collar counties.
Those are the regions where Democrats are trying to take back three of the four congressional seats they lost in the 2010 elections. Michael Madigan’s redistricting helped, but Obama’s name at the top of the ticket will help, too. As Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson pointed out this week, there are no statewide races in Illinois this year, so voters will go right from the presidential race to their local congressional race.
Last time, the first name they saw was Quinn’s. No wonder the Democrats lost so many seats.
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