(Chicago) – If she wants, ex-Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is currently in a strong position to make a comeback as a comptroller candidate in 2016, a new survey suggests.
A new poll taken on January 29 of 1,021 likely voters by We Ask America, commissioned by The Illinois Observer and delivered on February 3 to our subscribers of our e-newsletter, The Insider, (subscribe here) reveals that Simon, who lost narrowly to the late Judy Baar Topinka in November, leads Topinka’s appointed successor, Leslie Munger, 50.5-41.0% with only 8.4% undecided.
Meanwhile, Munger, who last year ran unsuccessfully for the Illinois House against State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), however leads State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), who is considering a 2016 bid, 45.0%-39.2% with 15.7% undecided.
(Note: In order to measure partisan support, the question identified the candidates as “Republican Leslie Munger”, “Democrat Sheila Simon” or “Democrat Daniel Biss”).
Simon is walloping Munger among female voters, snaring 55.3% to Munger’s 36.1% and edging her with Independent voters, 46.1%-41.8%. Moreover, Munger is also taking only 15.1% in the City of Chicago, a full five points below where she needs to run in order to be successful statewide.
The new comptroller, however, leads Simon among male voters, 49.8%-42.1% and Downstate, 51.8%-38.0%.
“In the first test of potential comptroller races for 2016, Sheila Simon has a 10.5 point advantage over Comptroller Munger,” said We Ask America pollster Chris Wieneke. “Given that Sheila Simon is the former Lt. Governor and a recent candidate for Comptroller, it is no surprise that Simon’s name recognition would give her an advantage over the recently appointed Comptroller who is not yet well known statewide.”
In a contest against a lesser-known Biss, Munger is, however, demonstrating strength in blue Illinois.
“In the second test of potential comptroller races for 2016, Comptroller Munger has a 6 point lead over Sen. Daniel Biss,” said Wieneke. “In this case Munger has the advantage of having a comparatively more recognizable name statewide, than State Senator Biss, which is due to the recent press coverage surrounding her appointment.”
Munger has a double-digit lead over Biss among male voters, 55.1%-34.5% while Biss has only slight edge with female voters, 41.8%-39.3%.
Among Independents, Munger holds a commanding lead 49.8%-26.1% while she captures 20.8% of Chicago voters – the magic 20% – to Biss’ 63.0%. Additionally, Munger is romping Downstate 54.5%-27.3%.
Of course, these early numbers – 21 months before the next general election – have to be read with caution, as Wieneke notes.
“…[I]t is a long way to the election and people need to remember that when they evaluate these numbers,” Wieneke stated. “That caveat aside, it is interesting to see where the starting point lies.”
What is “interesting” is that deep blue Illinois is showing more purple. Essentially, both Munger and Biss are unknown statewide. This survey is an early test of partisan strength, and in this test, Munger should be cautiously optimistic, not only in contest against a statewide, low profile opponent, such as Biss, but also against Simon.
But to win on her own, she’ll also need money. And at the moment, she has only a piddly $1,241 in her bank account, compared to Biss’ $721,000. Simon has only $4,152.
Still, Munger’s future will also depend on the early performance of the person who installed her in the job – Governor Bruce Rauner.
Rauner has already signaled that the decisions that he makes in the coming weeks and months may drive down his popularity during the next couple years – just about the time Munger seeks a full-term.
Munger is currently enjoying a GOP honeymoon.
We’ll see how long that lasts.
In the meantime, Simon, were she to run again, would be a likely frontrunner.
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