The primaries for governor in both major parties are now officially wide open.
Public Policy Polling released a survey Tuesday morning giving Dan Hynes a one-point lead over incumbent governor Pat Quinn. On the Republican side, Kirk Dillard has a slight edge with 19%, but Andy McKenna and Bill Brady were both within the margin of error at 17% and 16%, respectively.
This is the first poll showing Quinn trailing, a remarkable turnaround for a race that Hynes was losing by double-digits just a month ago. Quinn has suffered from the disclosure of a secret early-release program for Illinois prisoners, as well as his own denials of the program and revelations that some of its members committed violent crimes upon release.
But the new polls also suggest that Dan Hynes's Harold Washington ad has been effective in the black community, despite Gov. Quinn and his allies' attempts to spin it otherwise. Hynes enjoyed a 45-38 advantage among African-Americans polled in the survey, taken between Jan. 22 and 25.
Meanwhile, no poll has given any of the Republican candidates for governor greater than 20% of the votes in some time. Jim Ryan, once seen as the front-runner in the race, seems nearly out of contention, polling only 13% in this survey. He also suffered a harsh policy rebuke Tuesday, as a new poll suggested nearly 70% of voters reject his plans to privatize the tollways.
Andy McKenna is in some hot water as well, over his decision to include himself in a poll of likely candidates for governor while he was chair of the state Republican party. Dillard appears to be the beneficiary of these mis-steps, taking his first lead in the polls.
On the Senate side, the PPP survey shows Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk maintaining double-digit leads, with Kirk in a 42-9 blowout over Patrick Hughes. David Hoffman continues to show signs of life, however, as the 32-20 deficit in this poll is significantly smaller than other sources have shown.