Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be the least liked politician in America. A new poll shows only 10 percent want him re-elected in 2010. Add that to the 13 percent who approve of Blagojevich's job performance -- that's even worse than President Bush's 18 percent approval ratings. The Chicago Tribune poll surveyed 500 likely voters last week.
The governor has become such a polarizing figure that both Republicans and Democrats are using him in negative ads. State Sen. Debbie Halvorson, a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 11th district, is now using the contributions of businessman Marty Ozinga, her opponent, to Blagojevich as a reason to vote for her.
Blagojevich's approval ratings are lower than George Ryan's during his last weeks as governor when it was clear he was the target of a federal probe. With Blagojevich's top fundraiser Tony Rezko soon to be sentenced and talking to federal authorities, there is heightened speculation Blagojevich may soon face the same fate as Ryan.
Perhaps the only folks who will still speak in favor of the governor are those who'd like to replace Sen. Barack Obama should he win the presidency. The governor will get to appoint Obama's replacement, and there is a long list of those who'd like that job. In fact, the governor could even appoint himself.
GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain talked about the governor's troubles in an ad against Obama. Even members of Blagojevich's own party are using him in ads. In one, Democrat Debbie Halvorson, who is running for Congress in the southern suburbs, criticizes Republican Marty Ozinga for giving contributions to Blagojevich.
Others, such as Rep. Peter Roskam (R-6th), pointed out his opponent Jill Morgenthaler's ties to the governor.
"I think the voters of the 6th District are just weary of Rod (Blagojevich)," he said.
"Peter Roskam would like to run a race against the governor, because he is unpopular," Morgenthaler responded.
Blagojevich's representatives suggested the governor was the target of those dissatisfied with the impasse in Springfield, so it's easy to lay the blame at his feet.
The governor's office responded to all of the bad poll numbers by saying, "During this economic crisis, it's no surprise that there is not whole lot to approve of, but all the more reason why the governor will continue to fight to keep families in their homes, for health care and protect taxpayers from increases."
So, while the governor has said he's interested in running for a third term, others are anxiously waiting in the wings as well. While no one has yet declared officially, the Democrats showing interest are Attorney General Lisa Madigan, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Bill Daley, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, and Dan Hynes. Possible Republicans are Rep. Tom Cross, Sen. Bill Brady, Sen. Christine Radogono and Ron Gidwitz.