Metro-East News

Clinton holds large lead over Trump in Illinois, new poll says

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Sept. 26.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Sept. 26. AP

While GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a slight lead over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in downstate Illinois, the former Secretary of State has a large lead statewide thanks to support in the Chicago area, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, in a poll conducted from Sept. 27 through Oct. 2, had Clinton leading 53 percent to 28 percent over Trump among likely voters statewide.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had 5 percent of the support of respondents, and the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, garnered 2 percent support from respondents. Nine percent of respondents said they remained undecided.

At stake in the traditionally Democratic-leaning Illinois is the state’s 20 electoral votes.

“This is Clinton’s home state and it is a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988,” said John Jackson, one of the designers of the poll and a visiting professor at the public policy institute. “This poll shows that Clinton is certainly living up to the conventional expectations for a Democratic candidate in the kind of big and diverse Midwestern state she must win to be elected.”

Most of Clinton’s support is concentrated in Chicago, where she is leading 67 percent to 19 percent over Trump. In the suburban and collar counties of the Chicago area, Clinton holds a lead of 56 percent to 25 percent over Trump.

Downstate Illinois is more competitive, as Trump has a slight lead with 40 percent of the support to Clinton’s 39 percent.

The margin of error on the poll is 3.1 percent.

In the race for the U.S. Senate, Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth, a U.S. representative from Hoffman Estates, leads first-term Republican incumbent Mark Kirk 48 percent to 34 percent among likely voters.

Libertarian candidate Kent McMillen received the support of 3 percent of the respondents, and 2 percent said they would vote for the Green Party candidate, Scott Summers. Ten percent remained undecided, the institute said.

The geographic breakdown of the Senate race is similar to that of the presidential race, with Duckworth holding large leads in Chicago and its suburbs and collar counties. Downstate, Kirk is leading Duckworth 44 to 36 percent, the poll found.

In the race for comptroller, Democratic Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza leads current Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger, a Republican, 40 to 32 percent among likely voters. However, 22 percent of those polled said they were undecided.

Mendoza is leading in the Chicago area. Munger has a lead in downstate Illinois.

Munger and Mendoza are seeking a two-year term for comptroller. Munger was appointed to fill the term of Judy Baar Topinka, who died shortly after being re-elected in 2014.

“Republican candidates who win statewide need to run better in the collar counties than Trump, Kirk and Munger are running,” said David Yepsen, director of the institute. “As always, that will be the battleground region in the coming month.”

Statewide job approvals

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s poll also asked about the job approval of Gov. Bruce Rauner, Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. All had higher disapproval ratings than approval ratings.

Rauner has a 55 percent disapproval rating, with 40 percent of respondents saying they approve of his job performance, the institute said.

The first-term Republican governor has a 45 percent job approval downstate, but 51 percent disapprove. In the Chicago suburbs and collar counties his disapproval rating is at 55 percent. He has a 62 percent disapproval rating in the city of Chicago.

Speaker Michael Madigan has an even higher disapproval rating. According to the poll, 63 percent of respondents disapprove of Madigan; 26 percent approve of his job performance.

Madigan is most popular in Chicago, where he has a 32 percent approval rating; 56 percent of respondents in Chicago disapprove of the speaker.

In suburban Cook County, and in the collar counties, 59 percent disapprove of Madigan and only 28 percent disapprove. Downstate, 73 percent of respondents disapprove of Madigan, and only 20 percent approve.

Cullerton’s job approval rating statewide is at 26 percent; 41 percent disapprove, the poll found. Twenty-nine percent said they weren’t sure.

His strongest support is in Chicago with 30 percent approval. In the Chicago suburbs, 26 percent approve of Cullerton’s performance, and only 22 percent of downstate respondents give the thumbs up to Senate president.

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