Tenacious Gadfly

[box type=”info”] Today we kick off a new series of polls measuring the current approve/disapprove ratings for a slew of Midwest governors. All but two that we’ll poll were newly crowned in the recent mid-term elections. We’ll begin with Illinois’ Pat Quinn (D).[/box]

Illinois Democrat Pat Quinn has been labeled many things throughout his long career. Gadfly. Populist. Reformer. Even goofy. But his detractors need to add another label for Quinn: winner.

Not many political analysts thought Pat Quinn had a great chance last fall. As we wrote last September:

[box] Shortly after John F. Kennedy was elected President, a young student reporter asked him how he became a war hero. Kennedy’s response: “They sank my boat.” Therein lies the plight of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who holds the office of governor only because federal authorities sank Blago’s boat. Quinn has been a fixture on the Illinois political scene for decades and is a former State Treasurer. He has sky-high name recognition due to his numerous past positions and populist causes he has championed. And, in fairness, while he was Rod Blagojevich’s running mate twice, he did openly criticize Blago during some of His Hairness’ more scatter-brained moments.[/box]

Quinn’s Republican opponent, Bloomington State Senator Bill Brady, was viewed as the likely winner in the fall due to the Midwest’s shift in political winds, Quinn’s open support for a tax increase, the number of third party candidates (most of whom would allegedly pull from his liberal base) and Quinn’s seemingly weak support among fellow Democrats. Polls showed Brady with leads until a few days before the election. But the third-party candidates faded at the end, Brady failed to gain enough traction in the traditional Republican strongholds surrounding Cook County, and Quinn’s tenacious approach prevailed in the end with a close, but under-50-percent, victory.

Since that close victory, Quinn helped pass a $6 billion state income tax increase, signed into law a death-penalty moratorium and a civil-union law, and suffered through the normal slings and arrows that a presiding governor receives…especially in bad economic times. (For Associated Press’ comprehensive look at Quinn’s agenda published recently, click HERE.) So how will all that affect Gov. Quinn’s approval rating? On March 20, we asked 1,184 registered Illinois voters this question:

[box] In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Illinois governor Pat Quinn is doing?[/box]

In addition, we added questions to ascertain gender and political party affiliation. Here are the results:

 APPROVEDISAPPROVENO OPINION
All Responses30.60%60.68%8.72%
By GENDER:
Female:32.96%56.85%10.19%
Male:27.75%65.32%6.94%
By PARTY ID:
Republican15.08%78.77%6.15%
Democrat48.72%42.00%9.28%
Independent24.30%65.08%10.61%

As previously mentioned, the hard economic times have to factored into any approval ratings. Still, these results are a bit on the brutal side coming from a Blue State (the poll was geographically balanced and had a 38%/31%/31% ratio of Democrats/Republicans/Independents responding). His lukewarm approval by fellow Democrats is particularly intriguing, but not surprising given the lesser-of-two-evils election results last fall.

While we’re not close to re-election time for Quinn, Illinois Democratic candidates will surely be looking at Gov. Quinn’s popularity as they face new district maps, and these results aren’t going to make them feel real warm and fuzzy about his help next fall.

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NOTE: This poll was paid for by We Ask America. The information has not been shared with any public official, candidate, cause or campaign.

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