If Lisa Madigan runs for governor, she’ll be the Democratic nominee, according to a We Ask America poll, reported by Rich Miller of Capitol Fax. Madigan leads Gov. Pat Quinn in a two-way matchup, and she leads both Quinn and former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley in a three-way race.
In the poll, Madigan leads Quinn by 25 points, 51 percent to 26 percent.
Madigan’s lead over Quinn in Chicago is 46 percent to 30 percent and it’s 51-28 in suburban Cook County, while she leads Quinn 53-23 in the suburban collar counties and by a massive 53-21 downstate, according to the poll.
Quinn has a better shot against Daley — a white, Irish Democrat from Chicago who may not bring much more to the table than Dan Hynes did in the 2010 primary.
According to the We Ask America poll, Quinn leads Daley by five points, 38 percent to 33 percent. November’s PPP survey had Daley leading Quinn 37-34, so average those two results and you get an essential tie at 36 for Quinn and 35 for Daley.
Could Daley be a spoiler who helps Quinn in a three-way race? Not according to the We Ask America poll. It says Madigan leads a three-way contest with 37 percent to Quinn’s 20 percent and Daley’s 15.
However, We Ask America failed to ask Illinois an important question: “Would you vote for Lisa Madigan if her father, Michael Madigan, stays on as speaker of the House and chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party?”
I suspect that the prospect of the same family controlling the legislative and executive branches of government would cost Madigan votes in a Democratic primary. It would cost her even more in a general election. Especially since Michael Madigan has raised the speakership to a position of pre-eminence over the governorship. He ousted the last Democratic governor, Rod Blagojevich, and dominates the current governor, Pat Quinn. How would Gov. Madigan stand up to her own father?
For years, Republicans have tried to tie Democratic state House candidates to Michael Madigan in radio ads and mailings. They even started a campaign to rename the state “Madiganville.” Obviously, those tactics haven’t worked. Madigan’s Democrats hold a record 71 of 118 seats in the House. But nobody pays attention to state House races. It will be a lot easier to connect Lisa Madigan to Mike Madigan. If they both run, it will be portrayed as a family cabal. If he retires, she’ll be portrayed as a continuation of the same leadership that put Illinois $8 billion in the hole. Lisa and Mike will be running mates.
The Democrats have not won four straight gubernatorial elections since before the Civil War. Even if Madigan wins a nomination that is hers to lose, she’ll have a tough race for governor.