JB for Governor volunteers in Alton
CARBONDALE - Democrat J.B. Pritzker has a 22-point lead over incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner in the race for governor, according to a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll released Tuesday.
According to the statewide poll conducted between Sept. 24 and 29, when asked, "If the election were held today...who would you vote for?" Forty-nine percent chose Pritzker; 27 percent chose Rauner; 4 percent chose conservative Sam McCann and 4 percent chose Libertarian Kash Jackson. The remaining 17 percent were undecided.
The poll was taken before news broke this week about a Cook County Inspector General investigation concluding that Pritzker engaged in a "scheme to defraud" his home county of more than $300,000 in improper property tax reductions and refunds.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cook County Assessor’s Office in 2015 reduced the assessed valuation of a mansion owned by Pritzker from $6.25 million to just under $1.1 million. The paper reported that Pritzker’s wife, M.K. Pritzker, wanted to declare the mansion uninhabitable and directed that toilets be removed before a property tax reassessment.
The reductions in assessed valuation allowed Pritzker to claim $132,747.18 in refunds for property taxes paid in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and reduced his property taxes for 2015 and 2016 by $198,684.85.
Pritzker has said that he will pay back the tax breaks.
The state's Republican congressional delegation that includes area U.S. Reps. John Shimkus of Collinsville, Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Mike Bost of Carbondale, however, is asking the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois to take a deeper dive into the issue.
"Illinois, perhaps more than any other state, has suffered greatly due to public corruption," states their Oct. 3 letter to U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. "Four of Illinois’ last nine governors have gone to prison. It is important to send a strong signal to the people of Illinois that no one is above the law, not even billionaires running for Governor. For that reason, we urge you to fully investigate this matter with all due speed."
Findings in the Paul Simon poll show stronger support for Rauner downstate than in the city of Chicago and its suburbs. It shows Pritzker's support strongest in the city.
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By Party, Democrats are solidly behind Pritzker, whereas Republican support for Rauner is weaker.
The poll also looked at the race for state attorney general, which showed that State Sen. Kwame Raoul, Democrat, held a 36 percent to 26 percent lead over Champaign attorney Erika Harold, Republican, with a whopping 39 percent undecided.
"There is an unusually large percentage of undecided voters in this race perhaps reflecting the low level of attention it has received compared to the high-profile governor’s race," stated Institute director John Shaw in a press release. “This indicates that this race is still very much dependent on the late deciders.”
According to the release, voters also were asked “Are you more enthusiastic than usual about voting, or less enthusiastic?"
Results showed that Democrats are 19 percent more enthusiastic than Republicans. Seventy percent of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic while 51 percent of Republicans said they are more enthusiastic about going to vote in the November elections.
Independents trailed with 50 percent saying they were more enthusiastic and 26 percent saying they were less enthusiastic about voting this year.
Conservative voters chose more enthusiastic compared to less enthusiastic by 61 percent to 24 percent while liberal voters chose more enthusiastic by 73 percent to 14 percent.
“Illinois Democrats are displaying greater enthusiasm about this midterm election than are Republicans or Independents. The so-called “enthusiasm gap” is comparable to what we have been seeing across the country for some time” said Simon Institute visiting professor Charlie Leonard.
“If it holds up and is reflected in comparable turnout numbers, it will be a major advantage for the Democrats."
The poll's margin of error for the entire sample of 1,001 voters is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.