Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads Donald Trump in Illinois, while Sen. Mark Kirk’s “approval numbers are terrible,” according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling.
Twenty-three percent of Illinois Republicans are giving the nod to Walker, while Trump (18 percent), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (11 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (8 percent) and Ben Carson (6 percent) round out the top five.
Walker also enjoys a 64 percent favorability rating, which is significantly higher than his next-closest GOP competitor, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who sits at 51 percent favorability.
But will any of it matter? In a head-to-head matchup, Bush gives Democrat Hillary Clinton the closest challenge, only trailing by 9 percentage points. Walker is 11 points behind and Trump trails Clinton by 18 points.
And even though the love for Walker is solid in Illinois, it’s a different story in Pennsylvania, where some protesters met him on Tuesday with some unusual signs.
Philly protesters bring, uh, colorful complaints about Scott Walker. pic.twitter.com/VqK6nygMwt
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) July 28, 2015
They also apparently disagreed with some choices on a cheesesteak he ordered.
Scott Walker cut in line at Geno's to order a cheesesteak with American cheese and no onions. He's not getting out of Philly alive.
— Ethan Booker (@Ethan_Booker) July 28, 2015
While Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, doesn’t have any cheesesteak issues, the poll highlights the challenges he faces after multiple public relations disasters. They include the time he called South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham a “bro with no ho” and another comment where he said President Barack Obama wants “to get nukes to Iran.”[nicelink url=”http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/831993/gop-fundraiser-calls-sen-kirk-step”]
In a head-to-head matchup, Democrat Tammy Duckworth has support from 42 percent of those polled, compared to Kirk’s 36 percent. This is while 42 percent of voters said they have no opinion of Duckworth, who has a 49-point lead against Andrea Zopp in the Democratic primary.
There’s more bad news for Kirk: His approval rating has dropped to 25 percent.
“Mark Kirk might be the most vulnerable Senator in the country next year,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “His approval numbers are terrible. Hillary Clinton’s strength in the state will make things harder for him.”
Last week, Sabato’s Crystal Ball changed its rating on the Senate race from “toss-up” to “leans Democratic,” also citing Clinton as another influencing factor. But it also left the door open to Kirk beating out Duckworth.
We still have some uncertainty about Duckworth’s strength as a statewide candidate, but Kirk’s foot-in-mouth troubles and the state’s Democratic lean surely help her chances. But we’ll keep an eye on intraparty strife here — the Duckworth-Zopp faceoff could get nasty.
Public Policy Polling also notes that former Rep. Aaron Schock, who resigned from Congress after questions surfaced about his spending habits, has a 7 percent favorability rating in Illinois.
The poll was conducted among 931 registered voters; 409 self-identified as Democrats and 369 as Republicans. The poll has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points, +/- 4.9 percentage points among Democrats and +/- 5.1 percent for Republicans.