A new Emerson College Polling/WGN/The Hill poll of Illinois Republican primary voters finds a two-way race for Governor with a plurality undecided. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin leads with 24% followed by State Senator Darren Bailey with 20%. No other candidate reaches double digits and 37% are undecided.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling noted, “The Republican gubernatorial primary has a clear education divide: Irvin leads Bailey among those with a college or postgraduate degree 30% to 17%, while Bailey leads Irvin among those without a college degree 23% to 18%.”

Irvin holds a significant lead over Bailey in the urban and city areas of the state, 32% to 10%, whereas Bailey nearly doubles Irvin’s support in the rural areas, 30% to 16%. Suburban voters are more split: 25% support Irvin and 20% support Bailey.

A majority, 57%, of Republican primary voters say they are more likely to support a candidate if former President Donald Trump supports them. 

“Both Bailey and Irvin would benefit from a Trump endorsement; however, Irvin also leads with voters who are less likely to support a Trump-endorsed candidate with 26%. He also leads with voters who say his endorsement would make no difference about 2:1, 33% to 17%.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

In the race to face incumbent Senator Tammy Duckworth in November, there is no clear frontrunner in the Republican primary, a 72% majority are undecided. Candidates are all under 10%, including Peggy Hubbard at 7%, Bobby Piton at 6%, and Kathy Salvi at 5%.

Republican primary voters were asked which of the following statements comes closest to their position on abortion: legal in all cases, legal up to 20 weeks, legal up to six weeks, legal in cases of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is endangered, or illegal in all cases. A plurality, 40%, say it should be legal only in cases of rape, incest, and when the woman’s life is endangered, 18% say it should be illegal in all cases, 15% said it should be legal up to 20 weeks, 15% say it should be legal in all cases, and 13% say it should be legal up to six weeks of pregnancy.

The economy is the top issue for 54% of Republican primary voters, followed by crime with 15%, and immigration with 7%. Among Republican primary voters living in Chicago, crime is the top issue at 39%; in the rest of the state, the issue drops to 11%.

Thirty percent (30%) of Republican primary voters say they think Richard Irvin is best suited to tackle crime in Illinois, while 20% say Darren Bailey, and 33% are undecided. On which candidate would best handle the economy, voters are more split: 22% trust Bailey while 21% trust Irvin; 35% are undecided.

“These sentiments are reflected in the ballot test and most important issue question,” Kimball continued, “voters who say the economy is the most important issue are split between Bailey at 28% and Irvin at 27%, whereas those who say crime is the top issue break for Irvin 29% to Bailey’s 11%.”

Caller ID

The Emerson College Polling Illinois poll of Republican primary voters was conducted May 6-8, 2022. The Republican primary sample consisted of somewhat and very likely voters, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, and region based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, and an online panel provided by Amazon MTurk.