(Chicago, IL) – October 22, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn has shrunk GOP rival Bill Brady’s lead to only one point as the campaign nears its final turn, and he’s being boosted by third party candidates, according to a new poll.
Brady remains steady at 42%, but Quinn has won over the vast majority of previously undecided voters, bringing his support from 35% to 41% in three weeks. Third-party candidates Scott Lee Cohen, Rich Whitney, and Lex Green are pulling 6%, 3%, and 1%, respectively.
Cohen’s and Green’s presence on the ballot are hurting Brady, as the Republican would beat Quinn in a head-to-head, 49-44. Despite some of their former independent supporters leaving them for Quinn, if those two and Whitney were not in the race, Brady would have a 48-40 lead with independents against just Quinn, versus his 37-40 deficit in the full ballot measure.
“The fact that Pat Quinn has pulled this race into a tie is remarkable given how unpopular he is,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But Bill Brady was a lot better off when voters didn’t know who he was and the more exposure he’s received the closer Pat Quinn has pulled.”
Quinn was down by seven points in PPP’s last poll of the Illinois governor’s race in September, and by nine in August.
The closure, despite the pro-GOP enthusiasm gap increasing from 10 to 17 points, comes largely because undecided Democrats and independents are moving toward the incumbent. In September, Quinn was suffering from 15% of his party remaining undecided in the race, to only 5% of the unified Republicans.
As expected, almost all of those undecided voters have come home. Because Brady takes 13% of Democrats to Quinn’s 2% of Republicans, Brady does still have a party-unity edge, but Quinn has also turned a 12-point deficit with independents to a three-point advantage as many of the undecided in that group, and those supporting the minor candidates, have gravitated to Quinn.
PPP surveyed 557 likely Illinois voters from October 14th to 16th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.2%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.