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Ill. Gov. Race Sees Name Confusion

September 2, 2002

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CHICAGO (AP) _ Democrat Jim Blagojevich is leading in the Illinois governor’s race, his advantage boosted in part by voters who have confused the incumbent governor with the Republican candidate who shares his surname.

According to a poll released Monday, Blagojevich leads Jim Ryan, 49 percent to 32 percent, with 14 percent undecided. About 4 percent support Libertarian candidate Cal Skinner, and 3 percent back someone else.

The poll, conducted by the Chicago Tribune/WGN-Channel 9, shows that some voters are apparently confusing the name of Jim Ryan, the state’s attorney general, with that of incumbent Gov. George Ryan.

George Ryan, not Jim, presided over the secretary of state’s office when a licenses-for-bribes scandal started.

Blagojevich’s lead narrowed to 45 percent to 35 percent when voters were asked a follow-up question that made it clear Jim Ryan and George Ryan were two different people.

The poll of 600 registered voters who are likely to vote in the Nov. 5 election was conducted Aug. 22-26 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The poll showed the corruption issue is a priority with voters, with nearly eight of every 10 surveyed saying they considered it a ``very important″ factor in deciding their vote.

Although Jim Ryan has tried to distance himself from George Ryan, he has been unable to shake off efforts by Blagojevich and other Democrats to link the two men.

The poll also showed that 62 percent of the voters accept Blagojevich’s criticism that Jim Ryan should have done more as attorney general to investigate the licenses-for-bribes scandal.

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