Unlike his two immediate predecessors, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn isn’t in prison.
Still, staying out of legal trouble hasn’t helped the Democrat’s approval ratings.
In a Public Policy Polling survey released late last month, Quinn’s job approval rating stood at 25 percent. That made him the most unpopular governor PPP has surveyed about anywhere in the country this year.
Quinn, 63, expressed little concern when asked about his ratings at a Bloomberg Breakfast with members of the Illinois media gathered at the news organization’s Chicago Bureau.
“I want to be the most honest governor in America,” he said. “I think we need that in Illinois.”
“I have two predecessors in jail, right now, at the same time,” he added. “I know what my mission is — it’s to straighten things out, to repair a lot of damage that’s been done in Illinois to the common good by bad, corrupt governors. And, you know, sometimes you have to do things that aren’t that popular, but are necessary.”
The former Illinois governors Quinn is referring to are George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Both men are in federal prison on public corruption charges.
Quinn’s poll ratings have triggered speculation that he might have a Democratic primary opponent in 2014.
“I have no idea,” he said of the prospect. “I’m happy to show up, file my petitions and take on anyone who wants to run in the primary.”
Among Democratic primary voters in the PPP survey, Quinn’s approval rating was 40 percent, with 43 percent disapproving of him. The poll found that Quinn would start out at a 64 percent to 20 percent deficit should Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan decide to get into the Democratic primary race.
Quinn denied that he was in a weakened negotiating position with state lawmakers on budget and pensions issues because of his low approval ratings.
“The approval rating really hasn’t changed much in several years, you know. It is what it is,” he said. “I really don’t care. I’m not in it to get higher approval ratings.”