Democratic Party Chairman and House Speaker Michael Madigan prefers to keep a low public profile.
But to know him is not to love him, according to the latest Chicago Tribune polls.
He has a 16% approval rating state-wide.
That’s about the level of support that Governor Blagojevich had when he was indicted and impeached.
Governor Pat Quinn is doing only somewhat better, although he is more widely known. The public’s alienation of affection with the Governor can be more closely tied to the fact that he has proven to be the most anti-labor Governor, Democrat or Republican, in the past 50 years.
Although he claims to have been born to solve the state’s pension issue by cutting public employee benefits, labor union members and state employees are not celebrating his birthday this year.
Quinn’s approval rating has dropped to a career low of 26%.
Earlier in the month, polling for the other state’s Democratic leader, Mayor Emanuel, had him at a 37% approval rating. That’s half of what it was a year ago just after Rahm spent $11 million hedge-fund and Hollywood dollars to get elected.
Clearly Chicagoans have buyers’ remorse. Rahm’s mismanagement and bullying provoked the first teachers strike in a quarter century and have sent murder rates to levels we haven’t seen since the crack epidemic of the 90s. Last night’s midnight firing of CPS CEO JC Brizard was a not-so-subtle attempt to shift the blame and a sign of Rahm’s growing self-made troubles.
And Quinn and Madigan are feeling the anger of unions and state employees.
Says the Tribune polling analysis:
The governor’s approval rating now ranks as his lowest level of support in Tribune polling, eclipsing the previous valley of 28 percent he received from voters in a September 2010 survey. Still, just weeks later, Quinn eked out a 31,834-vote victory over conservative Republican Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington.
Since then, Quinn has come under fire for an income-tax increase, budget cuts and alienating public labor unions.
Though Quinn helped spearhead a lame-duck 67 percent individual income tax rate increase in January 2011, the state’s financial picture remains a mess. Quinn is making more than $1.6 billion in cuts in Medicaid health care services to the poor and disabled, while billions of dollars more in backlogged bills are unpaid.
With a rising pension payment and unfunded pension liability, Quinn has proposed retirement system changes that have irked public employees unions.
Here is some take aways from all this.
With levels of public support for Quinn, Madigan and Emanuel, what are the prospects for their plans to go after public employee pensions in either the post-election veto session or the next General Assembly session when it meets after January 1st? Quinn’s prospects for re-election in two years are dim. Madigan is 70 years old and hasn’t been able to pull it together around pensions so far.
On the Republican side, the Thompson and Edgar wing are positioning themselves to get a centrist Republican the nomination for Governor. Both Edgar and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka have spoken out in support of finding revenue solutions to the pension issue and not benefit cuts. They do not have much common ground with the Tea Party wing that nominated Bill Brady.
We can expect a war there.
The popularity challenged state Democrats are even a problem as soon as November 6th.
While nobody expects Obama to lose Illinois, the narrowing margin of victory may have a serious impact on down ticket congressional races.
All proving what a mess you weave when you mess with unions and our promised pensions.