Gov. Pat Quinn could win new term in spite of poor rating

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D)

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Although a poll shows 60 percent of voters disapprove of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), it may not be enough for a Republican to take over the state’s top job.

According to’s latest Illinois survey, only 34 percent of voters approve of the job Quinn has done since taking over for the impeached Rod Blagojevich in 2009. Six percent of voters are unsure.

In pitting Quinn against Republicans, he leads Bruce Rauner, who the poll shows would grab 41 percent of the vote. Quinn is currently deadlocked with Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard and falls slightly behind Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

Quinn trails by four to seven points among independent voters and loses as much as 15 percent of the Democratic vote in each of the proposed races.

The figures came in just after Quinn made same-sex marriage the law of the land last week. Some believe gay marriage, along with concealed-carry legislation, could carry the governor to a new term. If both measures prove to be insignificant by next November, Quinn’s current rating is still better than the 25 percent approval he wallowed in last year at this time.

Quinn was was unable to stop concealed-carry, even with Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) on the front lines. In July, he announced he was ready for a “showdown” with lawmakers and quickly began rewriting the law. Quinn wrote provisions to ban guns in liquor establishments, restricting magazines and limiting concealed weapons to one per person. While his political allies applauded them, his changes were bucked by the NRA and majority of Democrats before they were voted down in the legislature.

A decision by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last year all but silenced the governor’s promise to veto any concealed-carry bill that came across his desk. Dec. 11, 2012, the three-judge panel ruled that the Illinois ban was unconstitutional and gave lawmakers 180 days to craft new legislation.

Nov. 15, 2013, five days before he signed the same-sex marriage bill into law, Quinn gave the green light on more than $30 million to help the Illinois State Police roll out concealed-carry.

Quinn has been a strong supporter of green building and alternative energy but is still mired in a $100 billion pension reform problem. When his 1.5 percentage-point increase in the personal income tax rate turned into 2 percent, then 5 percent in 2011, he went on to become one of the most unpopular governors in the country.

Earlier this month, Quinn tapped former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas as his running mate after Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (D) announced she was running for state comptroller.

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