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Master Madigan Botches His Attempt at “Leadership” PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 03 March 2013 05:16

Nobody ever really knows what’s going through the head of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan except for Madigan himself. So the actual purpose behind last week’s highly choreographed gun-control and pension-reform debates – ordered up by Madigan – wasn’t completely clear to anyone.

That’s by design, of course. Madigan prefers to keep people in the dark until he’s ready to make his final move.

But I did hear one theory from a Democrat that made quite a bit of sense – at least for a while.

 
General Assembly Faces Difficult Questions on Concealed Carry PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 24 February 2013 05:04
Illinois House Democrats were told during a private caucus meeting in Springfield last week that, despite what Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says, inaction on concealed carry would have very serious consequences.

A federal appellate court has given the General Assembly until June 8 to pass a new law allowing some form of public carrying of loaded weapons. After that deadline, Illinois’ laws against public carrying would be struck down. Illinois is the only state in the nation that totally bars concealed or open carry by citizens.

However, an aide to Alvarez told the House Judiciary Committee last week that the federal appellate ruling means nothing to the state.

 
Governor’s Bad Week Includes Horrible Polls, Key Departure PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 17 February 2013 05:39

“Off topic? I can’t imagine what that would be,” cracked Governor Pat Quinn last week during a press conference. Just hours before, his lieutenant governor had announced that she would not be his 2014 running mate.

Quinn usually does a pretty good job during his press conferences of convincing reporters to wait to ask off-topic questions until all questions about the subject at hand have been asked. Last week was no exception.

Quinn was holding a presser with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss her conditional approval allowing Illinois to move forward with an online health-insurance exchange – a major step toward implementing the president’s national health-care plan.

“You could get caught by stray bullets,” Quinn jokingly warned the folks who had gathered with him to make the announcement. “You don’t have to be part of the firing squad,” he added with a laugh.

He knew what was coming. Earlier in the morning, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute had released a poll showing that Quinn was badly trailing Lisa Madigan in a hypothetical primary matchup. By mid-morning, the late Senator Simon’s daughter, Sheila, had announced that she wouldn’t be running with Quinn again. Simon’s aides said she didn’t know about the poll from her father’s think tank, but the irony wasn’t lost on those of us who watch these things.

 
The Fallacy (and Challenge) of “Our Illinois” PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 February 2013 05:39

Governor Pat Quinn used the phrase “our Illinois” (or a variation) almost 30 times last week during his State of the State address

“In our Illinois, everyone should have access to decent health care.”

“In our Illinois, working people find good jobs not just for today but for tomorrow.”

“In our Illinois, we find a way to get hard things done.”

In our Illinois, we are a “community of shared values.”

While the phrase was mainly just a rhetorical device for a constitutionally mandated annual address, it is important to point out that Illinois isn’t really “one” and doesn’t have all that many “shared values.”

“Our Illinois” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

Imagine trying to govern a state so diverse that it included both Boston, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia.

 
Polls Show AG Madigan with Commanding Primary Leads – If She Runs PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 03 February 2013 05:27

It’s little surprise that a poll taken January 30 of 1,255 likely Illinois Democratic primary voters shows Attorney General Lisa Madigan leading Governor Pat Quinn by a very large margin.

Madigan also leads Quinn and former White House chief of staff Bill Daley in a three-way contest, according to the poll, but Quinn leads Daley in a one-on-one race. And a large plurality of Democrats disapprove of the governor’s job performance. The We Ask America Poll has a margin of error of 3 percent. About 18 percent of the results came from non-land line users.

In the poll, Madigan leads Quinn 50.5 to 25.7. Among women, who almost always cast a majority of Democratic primary votes, Madigan’s lead is 53-22, while she leads among men 46-30.

Madigan’s lead over the governor in Chicago is 46-30, and it’s 51-28 in suburban Cook. Madigan is ahead 53-23 in the suburban collar counties and by a massive 53-21 Downstate.

Madigan has not yet decided whether she is going to run for governor. People close to her are divided over what they think she’ll do. She reportedly plans to take her time with her decision.

A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey taken in November had Madigan leading Quinn 64-20. But that poll was of just 319 “usual” Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of 5.5 percent. Still, the survey company does excellent work, so if you average the two polls you get a 57-23 lead for Madigan. If Madigan’s decision is heavily weighted toward whether she can win the primary, she’ll run.

Quinn has a better shot against Daley – a white, Irish Democratic Chicago man who may not bring much more to the table than Dan Hynes did in the 2010 primary. According to the We Ask America poll, Quinn leads Daley by 5 points, 38-33. November’s PPP survey had Daley leading Quinn 37-34, so average those two results and you get an essential tie – 36 for Quinn and 35 for Daley.

According to last week’s We Ask America poll, Quinn leads Daley in the city 45-30, but Daley leads in suburban Cook 40-36. Quinn has a narrow half-point lead in the collars and leads by less than two points Downstate. The Daley name ain’t what it used to be.

Could Daley be a spoiler who helps Quinn in a three-way race? Not according to the We Ask America poll, in which Madigan leads with 37 percent to Quinn’s 20 percent to Daley’s 15. Public Policy Polling did not test a three-way race last November.

Madigan’s lead among women in a three-way contest is pretty big. She gets 38 percent to Quinn’s 17 percent and Daley’s 13 percent. Among men, her lead is a bit smaller – 34 percent to Quinn’s 24 percent to Daley’s 18 percent.

Madigan leads Quinn and Daley in Chicago 35-22-17. Her lead in suburban Cook is 35-18-18. She leads 36-17-16 in the collars and is ahead 40-19-11 Downstate.

Public Policy Polling had Quinn’s job-approval rating among Democrats at 40 percent, with a 43-percent disapproval. Last week’s We Ask America poll had Quinn’s approval among fellow party members at 37 percent, with a 42-percent disapproval. Despite the head-to-head matchups, women give him a slightly lower disapproval rating than men; 41 percent of women disapprove compared to 46 percent of men. But just 36 percent of Democratic women and 37 percent of Democratic men approve of the way Quinn is handling his job.

Quinn won the 2010 primary and general elections despite low approval ratings. So he’s been here before. What he didn’t have to do back then, however, was take on one of the most popular politicians in Illinois. PPP’s November poll pegged Lisa Madigan’s favorable rating at 68 percent among Democrats, while just 16 percent had an unfavorable view.

If Lisa Madigan runs, she likely wins the primary. Daley is another story. Like 2010, a Daley-Quinn race will be a hard-fought and bloody battle that could end up being pretty close. If Quinn has to get a single primary opponent, Daley would be the one he’d want.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax (a daily political newsletter) and CapitolFax.com.

 
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