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Do Recent Polls Really Spell Certain Victory for Bruce Rauner?

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As the end of the summer heats up, so does the end of the Illinois' governor's race. In the political polls conducted so far, the Republican challenger Bruce Rauner seems to be leading Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, but the margins vary based on polling entity. Two Reboot Illinois/We Ask America polls had Rauner winning by 10 and 14 percentage points, but CBS/New York Times, Harstad Strategic Research and Rasmussen Reports polls showed him ahead by only a few percentage points. On the other hand, a Chicagon Sun-Times/We Ask America poll had Rauner ahead, leading by 13 points.

Why such large margins of differences?

Even as we conducted our own polls, we've consistently cautioned that polling represents a snapshot in time. It's a measure of the attitudes of a random pool of respondents on the day they're surveyed. Check out graphs on Reboot Illinois that show the differences between polls from several organizations based on timing and the particular sample pools that each poll captured.

Despite such varied margins of a lead, the polls still present a compelling argument for a Rauner victory in November. But Madeleine Doubek said it's still too early to call Quinn toast. He is a well-established political player in the state. In those same polls, Quinn was generally ahead in Chicago, where a significant portion of Illinois voters come from on Election Day, meaning things could swing the other direction fast. Plus, many non-binding ballot questions in Chicago and across the state about the minimum wage, birth control and gun control may persuade Democratic-leaning voters to come out.

Of course, Rauner's campaign also has been busy spending millions on political ads that could counteract Democratic efforts. At this point, anything could happen.