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Poll Shows Rauner Trailing, Voter Enthusiasm, Fast Food Workers to Strike, Van Dyke Trial Continues: TODAY 10-03-18

Latest Illinois Election Poll Shows Rauner Trailing, Voter Enthusiasm

A new poll in the 2018 race for Illinois governor shows Democratic challenger billionaire JB Pritzker with a commanding lead over incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The poll, which was conducted in late september by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, has Pritzker leading 49 percent to Rauner’s 27 percent, with 17 percent undecided, and the remaining 8 split evenly between Libertarian Grayson ‘Kash’ Jackson and Republican state Sen. Sam McCann. Pritzker leads Rauner 65 to 22 percent in Chicago, and 53 to 23 percent in the suburban collar counties.

JB Pritzker shakes hands before Chicago’s annual May Day march. Photo by Aaron Cynic/File

The Simon poll also took a look at the state’s race for Attorney General, as well as voter enthusiasm and likely voter turnout.

In the race for Attorney General, the majority of voters – 39 percent – are still undecided. Democratic State Sen. Kwame Raoul leads Republican Erika Harold 36 percent to 26 percent.  

“There is an unusually large percentage of undecided voters in this race perhaps reflecting the
low level of attention it has received compared to the high-profile governor’s race”, said Institute
Director John Shaw in a statement. “This indicates that this race is still very much dependent on the late deciders.”

Democratic voters are more enthusiastic than Republicans, according to the poll, with 70 percent of them saying they’re more enthusiastic about heading to the ballot box in November compared to 51 percent of Republicans. Overall, 58 percent of those surveyed say they’re more enthusiastic about voting this election cycle. Additionally, 90 percent of respondents say they’re ‘certain’ to vote in the election, and 76 percent said they know the exact location of their polling place.

Second Gubernatorial Debate to Take Place Wednesday Evening

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and his Democratic challenger billionaire JB Pritzker will go head to head in the second live televised debate of the gubernatorial election Wednesday evening.

The first televised debate debate, which also featured third party candidates Republican state Senator Sam McCann of the newly formed Conservative Party and Libertarian candidate Grayson “Kash” Jackson took place two weeks ago on NBC 5. The pair were not invited to participate Wednesday as neither received more than 10 percent in independent polls.

Image via screencap of NBC5 livestream.

The debate comes as Rauner has been trailing in the polls and has been taking fresh new criticism of his handling of the deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak at a veterans home in Quincy, Illinois. Pritzker meanwhile is taking heat over an investigation by the Cook County Inspector General’s office for an alleged “scheme to defraud” taxpayers after improperly receiving more than $300,000 after toilets were unhooked in one of his mansions which would have lowered the property tax value. Pritzker has since pledged to give the money back.

If Wednesday’s debate is anything like the one which took place in September, viewers can expect both candidates to hit their opponent on these issues, along with plenty of frustrating moments of yelling and interruption.

The debate, which is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Illinois Education Fund and Univision Chicago, will air live on ABC7 at 6:00pm, and will also be streamed on the station’s website.

Defense in Van Dyke Trial Expected to Rest Case Wednesday

The defense team for Jason Van Dyke is expected to rest its case on Wednesday, a day after the Chicago Police Officer took the stand himself on Tuesday. Van Dyke is charged with the first degree murder of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year old African American boy he shot 16 times in October of 2014 while on duty.

On Tuesday Van Dyke testified that he shot the teenager because McDonald continued to advance on him with a knife and raising it to his chest, despite video footage showing something contradictory.

“The video doesn’t show my perspective,” said Van Dyke.

The officer fired a total of 16 shots at McDonald, killing him. Though at least 10 other officers were on the scene, Van Dyke was the only officer to fire his weapon.

“I shot at the knife. I wanted him to get rid of the knife. My focus was just on that knife…That’s all I could think of,” said Van Dyke.

After the defense rests, prosecutors will have a chance to offer a rebuttal before closing arguments begin. You can watch Van Dyke’s full testimony on NBC5, and read detailed accounts at the Sun-Times and Shadowproof.

Fast Food Workers to Strike Thursday

Fast food workers that are part of the ‘Fight for $15’ movement will strike on Thursday, and will be joined by higher education, hospital, and security, and other service industry workers, along with several local politicians. The strike is part of a series of actions taking place this week nationwide to demand a $15 an hour wage and union rights for low wage workers, many in electoral battleground states.

Workers with the ‘Fight For $15’ movement march in a large demonstration in May, 2017. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

“I want to be able to take care of my son without worrying about losing a day of wages,” Adriana Alvarez, a McDonald’s employee in Cicero, told the Washington Post last week when organizers first announced the actions. “Some of my co-workers are scared to speak up about what happens to them because they’re scared of retaliation.”  

Organizers say workers, some who felt disadvantaged by Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 81, which would’ve raised Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 an hour, also plan to join others in the movement across the country on a massive electoral canvass where they will knock on “hundreds of thousands of doors nationwide to elect candidates at the local, state and federal levels in November who will support workers organizing to win a union and a $15 living wage.”

The action will begin at noon near McDonald’s corporate headquarters in the West Loop. Last month, workers staged a one-day action at that location to protest sexual harassment on the job.

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