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Madigan emerges as Democratic frontrunner for governor

By Chris Rizo | Mar 12, 2009

Lisa Madigan (D)

Pat Quinn (D)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is the would-be Democratic frontrunner in the 2010 gubernatorial race, a poll indicates.

The Zogby International poll showed that Madigan has a double-digit lead over Gov. Pat Quinn, who was elevated to governor after his predecessor, fellow Democrat Rod Blagojevich, was removed from office for, among other things, trying to sell the state's vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Based on the responses of 644 likely voters, Madigan leads with 41 percent support, compared to Quinn's 29.5 percent.

"Early campaign polling is generally a name recognition game, unless a huge event intervenes. Both of these hold true in our Illinois polling. Generally, a lot of voters are undecided - it is early," said John Zogby, president and CEO of Zogby International.

"A big name like Attorney General Lisa Madigan holds a solid lead over new incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, but one in five still is not sure and she polls well below 50 percent," he added.

On the Republican side, DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett has a significant lead over state Sen. Bill Brady and Illinois Chamber of Commerce President Doug Whitley.

In a possible Republican primary, Birkett has 39.3 percent support, while Brady and Whitley have single-digit support, with 8.5 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

Zogby said when respondents were asked if they support a candidate for governor in 2010 who is experienced in Illinois government or a political outsider voters were nearly split, while 53 percent of respondents said they would be less inclined to support a candidate for the General Assembly if they knew they had voted for increased taxes.

The Zogby poll was commissioned by the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois, and was conducted from Feb. 20 through Feb. 23. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

The survey also asked likely voters about embattled U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, who was appointed by Blagojevich to fill out the unexpired Senate term of President Barack Obama.

The poll indicates that the Democrat's support has dwindled since he made contradictory statements to state lawmakers about whether he had offered anything to Blagojevich in return for the Senate seat.

After testifying that no deals were made, Burris amended his testimony to say he had spoken to several Blagojevich advisers, whom Burris said called three times asking for fundraising help.

Burris has not said if he will run for a full Senate term in 2010. He has started a campaign committee to explore a run, however. Giannoulias is the only Democrat officially in the Senate race.

Possible Republican candidates include U.S. Reps. Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam. The poll indicates that Kirk leads among Republicans with 26.3 percent support, compared to Roskam's 21 percent.

"There is no question that newly appointed Senator Roland Burris has been sorely hurt and can't survive," Zogby said. "Through it all, voters are split on whether they want an insider or an outsider and Republicans still trail badly in terms of their ability to best lead Illinois."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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