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Ever since the Republican Party was founded just before the Civil War, Illinois Democrats haven't been able to hold onto the governor’s mansion for more than eight years in a row.
That trend sucks for Pat Quinn.
So do the results of the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, which shows that Quinn is still trailing Bill Brady badly.
Brady leads Quinn 47%-36%, according to the poll. Eight percent prefer some other candidate, (Our guess: it’s not Scott Lee Cohen) and 10% are undecided. Even with the 4.5% margin of error, it’s roughly the same margin Brady enjoyed when the race began, after he was named the Republican Party’s nominee.
“Quinn continues to fall well short of the 50% level considered critical for incumbents at this stage of a campaign. This is especially telling in President Obama’s home state which has trended Democratic in recent years,” Rasmussen Reports writes. “Despite Brady’s narrow primary win, he now has the support of 80% of Republican voters. By comparison, Quinn who also narrowly defeated a primary challenger gets just 60% of Democratic votes. Voters not affiliated with either party prefer the Republican by better than two-to-one.”
Beyond bad poll numbers, Quinn is also being outspent and out advertised.
Brady has been airing biographical campaign ads for nearly a month, and the Republican Governors Association just chipped in $400,000 for its “Day After Tomorrow” ad linking Quinn and Blagojevich.
Quinn has no ads on the air, no money from the Democratic Governors Association, and he isn’t getting much money from the unions, which are angry that he signed a bill cutting pension benefits for new state workers.
The only way Quinn can dig himself out of this hole is to dig Illinois out of its $13 billion budget deficit. That’s not going to happen this year.
Illinois may have trended Democratic in presidential politics, but Illinoisans have traditionally preferred Republican governors. Republicans have controlled the governor’s mansion for 114 out of the last 154 years. Voters see it as a matter of balance: a Republican governor is a counterweight against the Democratic mayor of Chicago. Remember how Mayor Daley called Pat Quinn on the carpet for threatening to veto the McCormick Place expansion bill? He couldn’t do that to a Republican governor.
Republican governors also seem to get along better with the Democratic House of Representatives. Intra-party rivalry destroyed the relationship between Rod Blagojevich and Michael Madigan, who hopes to make his own daughter the governor.
Illinois may be a blue state, but we have a red governor’s mansion. The Republicans are the natural governing party of Illinois. They lose when they screw up. Blagojevich won the governor’s mansion because George Ryan’s scandals convinced the public that, after 26 years, the Republicans needed a little break.
They’ve had their break. It looks as though they’ll be back next year.