A new poll by ‘We Ask America’ shows the Democratic nomination for Governor is up for grabs with just under two months to go until the March primary.
Despite heavy ad spending, J.B. Pritzker finds himself in an even tighter race than he did a few weeks ago, garnering just under 30% support of those surveyed. State Sen. Daniel Biss came is second at 17.43% while businessman Chris Kennedy received 11.5%, dropping him to third in the race. Nearly 38% of those asked remain undecided as the most critical weeks of the campaign approach. No other candidate polled above 2%.
Pritzker can take some comfort in still leading the race, but his diminishing margin indicates he clearly has a long way to go to securing the Democratic nomination. While no fan of Gov. Bruce Rauner, Pritzker has taken a page out of Rauner’s campaign playbook from the last election when Rauner defeated three established candidates to win the Republican nomination for Governor. That included spending big early, establishing name recognition, attempt to choke off funds to your opponents and run against the incumbent Governor instead of your primary opponents. It has not worked out as well for Pritzker as it did for Rauner four years ago.
Also unknown is the impact recent TV ads against Pritzker by the Rauner campaign are having in the Democratic primary race. In those ads, including an online ad that runs 15 minutes long, Pritzker is heard on FBI surveillance audio talking with disgraced former Governor Rob Blagojevich about possible appointments to state posts, a process used by the former governor which would become a factor in his eventual removal from office and prosecution on corruption charges.
The poll also shows that Pritzker is weakest in Chicago and suburban Cook counties where the vast majority of Democratic voters in Illinois reside. In fact, Biss currently leads Pritzker in suburban Cook County according to the survey, although Pritzker leads in the City of Chicago.