The poll of 1178 Republicans taken February 25th shows Rauner with a 2-to-1 advantage over his nearest opponent, with his strongest support coming from men in suburban Cook and Chicago's collar counties. Even with all the money he's spent to build that lead however, being vitually the only candidate to air television ads to date (and lots of them), he still gets just 35.6% of the vote. 26.9% of those polled are still undecided, indicating there are still lots of votes to be had out there.
Another finding of the poll is that Rauner is weakest with women voters, who may find his message too conservative. 33.3% of them haven't decided yet. Rauner gets 29.4%, while State Senators Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady are in the 14-15% range. Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who saw his numbers decline after a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against him, garnered about 8% of support of women polled.
The dynamics of one of Rauner's opponents peeling off enough of the undecided vote to pass Rauner are extremely difficult and unlikely. They would likely also have to bring down Rauner's numbers in some way to be competitive, and recent attack ads against Rauner by PACs appear to be having only a slight effect.
Still, those undecided voters have to go to someone, and there remain alot of them in this race.
WTVO/WQRF Eyewitness News will televise the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Governor's Debate on Monday, March 3rd, on the following schedule.
WROK AM-1440 will also air the debate from 7pm-8pm.