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News

Half of voters undecided on Senate pick, poll finds

September 26, 2003

BY SHAMUS TOOMEY Staff Reporter

The race to succeed outgoing U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald is so wide open that nearly half of all Illinois voters haven't a clue who should be their next senator, a poll released Thursday shows.

Only two candidates even broke double digits, and neither got more than 10 percent.

Fox News Chicago commissioned the poll to gauge voter interest in the March primary and potentially pare down the crowded field as it prepares for an Oct. 4 debate to be televised live on its sister station, WPWR-Channel 50.

Decisions on who will be invited to the debate haven't yet been made, but no candidates should be too excited by the numbers compiled by pollsters by phone this week. KRC Communications Research surveyed 800 likely voters. The poll has an error margin of 4.8 percentage points.

The two candidates who broke into double digits had the most politically recognizable names: Democrat Dan Hynes and Republican Jack Ryan. Hynes is the state comptroller and son of Democratic powerhouse Tom Hynes. Ryan, an investment banker turned teacher, is a political newcomer. But he shares a last name with the state's former governor and attorney general -- none of whom are related.

On the GOP side, dairy and investment magnate Jim Oberweis received 9 percent; retired Air Force Gen. John Borling and lawyer John Cox each had 8 percent; businessman Andrew McKenna took 6 percent, and state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger received 5 percent.

But 45 percent of those surveyed said they didn't know who they would choose.

And exactly half of the 400 Democratic voters polled said they didn't know who they wanted.

After Hynes, businessman Blair Hull got 9 percent; state Sen. Barack Obama, 8 percent; lawyer and former School Board President Gery Chico, 7 percent, and health care executive Joyce Washington, 5 percent.





 
 












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