A new poll released Thursday showed the Republican candidate for Illinois governor leading the incumbent Democrat by the widest margin of any poll to date.
Rasmussen's survey, conducted on August 9th, showed that 48 percent of those surveyed would vote for Bill Brady, the Republican. Only 35 percent of respondents supported Governor Pat Quinn.
Brady has consistently led in the polls since narrowly winning the Republican nomination in February. But never has he held such a commanding lead as the thirteen-point margin in this week's poll.
Respondents who reported feeling very strongly about the race also heavily favored Brady, according to the toplines. Sixteen percent of voters said they found the state senator "very favorable," while 19 percent found him "very unfavorable."
By contrast, only 10 percent of those surveyed in the poll had a "very favorable" opinion of Gov. Quinn, while an astonishing 33 percent viewed him very unfavorably.
At this relatively early point in the campaign, Rasmussen "considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers," the firm writes.
Quinn, the former lieutenant governor, took over as the state's executive after Rod Blagojevich was impeached in January 2009. His brief tenure has been marred by a crushingly bad state economy, one that has forced him to make harsh budget cutbacks and propose unpopular tax increases to help right the ship. The state deficit is currently around $13 billion.
To make matters worse, he has been widely criticized for giving pay hikes to 235 state workers while programs were slashed.
Brady, a little-known and very conservative downstate senator, will try to steal the governor's office from Quinn in November. He appeared to face an uphill battle, running in a traditionally moderate-to-liberal state with low name recognition in its largest population center.
But given the economy, and the pervasive anti-incumbent sentiment, today's poll suggests that Quinn has the much steeper hill to climb.