Race for Illinois governor between Pritzker, Bailey closer than 4 years ago, new poll shows

A voter opinion survey done for Republican Darren Bailey's campaign shows Gov. JB Pritzker with a lead. But it's closer than the landslide, 16 percentage points, Democrat Pritzker won by four years ago.

Celebrating an endorsement Monday from the Laborers International Union, Gov. Pritzker recalled how in 2018 he defeated Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner by a margin of 55 percent to 39 percent.

"We crushed Bruce Rauner by the largest margin against an incumbent governor in state history," Pritzker said.


A survey done Sept. 8-10 for the current Republican nominee found Pritzker at 44%, Bailey 37% and libertarian Scott Schluter 8%.

Some might question the results since, before asking 500 likely voters which candidate for governor they prefer, the poll asked:

"...would you rather vote for a strongly conservative Republican candidate that will take the fight to the rich elite and tackle the big issues like fixing our economy and fighting crime or would you vote for a billionaire Democratic candidate who will focus on fighting the cultural issues like abortion rights?"

When asked to name the single biggest issue facing Illinois today, 25% said taxes; 17% crime/violence/drugs.

State Senator Bailey (R-Xenia) and an independent Political Action Committee supporting him blame Pritzker for a rise in violent crime since 2019. In a signal that the governor may feel some heat, he's responding now in a campaign commercial.

Pritzker’s ad says he signed into law a measure providing funds to hire hundreds of new Illinois state troopers. The ad also states that Bailey voted against it.

The Republican says the Democratic super majority that runs the General Assembly did not give him enough time to read the proposal prior to the vote and he could not trust their verbal descriptions.

The poll, accurate to within about 4.4 percentage points, was done by Osage Research of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It found 29% of voters have a favorable view of Bailey, 39% unfavorable. The numbers for Pritzker: 48% favorable; 45% unfavorable.

Early voting begins next week in west suburban DuPage County. In other collar counties and in Chicago and Cook County, early voting begins next month.