Last week one of the questions from an internal poll we had conducted for a client got leaked, showing tracking numbers for the Illinois Governor’s race. The problem is this poll was never intended for public consumption—it was a quick and dirty automated tracking poll testing something else entirely. The data gave our client what they needed, but these results never should’ve been taken as an accurate snapshot of the governor’s race.
To say we were horrified to have our name tied to those results as an official public tracking poll would be an understatement, so we commissioned an actual poll that we could release.
Here are those results.
Richard Irvin has taken a commanding lead in the Illinois governor’s race, with 33% support. Bailey is still in striking distance at 21%, but quickly running out of time. Sullivan has faded to 10%, and the rest of the candidates are in single digits (Rabine 7%, Solomon 3%, Schimpf 2%). With only 25% of likely Republican primary voters undecided, Irvin’s challengers either need to unite or individually dominate the remainder of this race if they are to have any hope of overcoming his lead.
Irvin’s support is statewide but strongest in the suburbs, where he has lapped the field with 38% of the vote compared to just 13% for Bailey. Meanwhile, Bailey polls significantly better outside the suburbs at 27%, but even there he still trails Irvin who has 31%. Sullivan’s support is fairly consistent throughout the state, while Rabine is significantly stronger in Cook County (14%) and the suburbs (11%) than the rest of Illinois (2%).
An interesting note is Irvin’s attacks on Bailey and Sullivan have increased their negatives but both candidates are still “above water.” In fact, Bailey’s net favorability is the same as Irvin’s (+12%). The key difference is overall name recognition: Irvin has achieved an extremely strong 71% name recognition while Bailey is at a relatively weaker 50%. The difference is glaring in the suburbs, where Irvin’s name recognition is 73% compared to just 38% for Bailey.
These results back up what many of us in the industry have observed:
- Irvin has dominated the space for months and used that to build his lead. If all voters hear is what Irvin is putting in front of them, can you blame them for voting for the one candidate they know?
- Bailey has done very little paid voter outreach to everyday Republicans, focusing almost exclusively on grassroots campaigning. This has given him extremely strong support among politically active conservatives, but he has a math problem because that is a small segment of the overall Republican voter population.
- Sullivan impressed early and earned a surprising level of support, but since has inexplicably been almost radio silent other than his one (excellent) video ad on socials and targeted tv.
- Rabine has built some support in Cook County and the suburbs but is likely fighting for 3rd in the race at this point. Interestingly, you combine his support in Chicagoland with Bailey’s support in the rest of the state and you almost have a candidate who can beat Irvin.
It’s important to point out that Bailey’s supporters are much more active and dedicated than Irvin’s, so he is likely to overperform any poll. The exact impact is dependent on voter turnout, but we’d estimate his overperformance to end up around 3%, though it could be as much as 5-7% if his team’s claims of their success with “silent voters” is to be believed.
So Bailey isn’t out of this race yet. But if he continues to ignore regular Republican voters, especially in Chicagoland, Irvin’s lead will just keep growing.
Poll Methodology: 671 responses were gathered by Victory Geek for Cor Strategies from Friday, April 29th, through Monday, May 2nd, with 1/3 of those responses collected live over cell phones. The poll’s margin of error is ±3.78%.