03/25/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Andy McKenna Surges In GOP Governor's Race, Poll Shows Three-Way Tie

Polling released Saturday by the Chicago Tribune shows Andy McKenna with a slight lead in the GOP primary race for governor of Illinois.

McKenna polled at 19%, having gained 7 points since the last poll came out in December. This represents a statistical dead heat with Jim Ryan, who polled at 18%. But Ryan's numbers are headed in the opposite direction; he polled at 26% with a clear lead in the previous tally.

Kirk Dillard was also the beneficiary of some positive movement, seeing a five-point lift to 14%.

The numbers match up quite closely with McKenna's own internals, released Friday. Those data showed an 18-18-17 tie between McKenna, Ryan and Dillard.

But McKenna hopes that as his name recognition grows, so too will his popularity. His internal polling showed that he had a more significant lead among those voters who had seen one of his TV ads. And he polled phenomenally on the question of which candidate "will cut spending and will not raise taxes," receiving 30% of the votes with no other candidate polling in double-digits.

Still, with ten days to go, three candidates near the margin of error and no one polling above 20%, the race for the Republican nomination is still wide open.