Paul Schimpf, who is challenging Lisa Madigan for attorney general, says a poll by his campaign challenges the notion that the three-time incumbent will coast to reelection in November.

The poll, conducted July 9-10 by McKeon & Associates and paid for the by the Schimpf campaign, shows Madigan up 46-37 over political newcomer Schimpf.

“The people of Illinois realize that we need more from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.  They are responding positively to my message and want an Attorney General who will prioritize fighting public corruption.  As we continue to connect with more people throughout the state, I am confident that this gap will continue to close and the voters will choose me to be their next Attorney General on Nov. 4,” Schimpf said in a statement issued by his campaign.

The McKeon results on the poll’s broadest question — for whom respondents would vote if the election were today — show Schimpf much closer to Madigan than in a Reboot Illinois/We Ask America poll conducted June 16 that showed Madigan ahead 51-35.

The McKeon poll queried 800 “very likely registered voters” and most of the questions appear designed to differentiate Schimpf, a former Marine from Waterloo, from his better known opponent. One question asks, “Would your community be better served if the next Illinois Attorney General was from outside Chicago?” Respondents preferred a non-Chicago attorney general by a 49-14 margin, with 37 percent saying they don’t know.

However, 59 percent answered that they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who “worked in government and politics all her life.” 13 percent said they’d be slightly less likely to vote for such a candidate and 18 percent said they were “not likely at all” to vote for a career politician for attorney general.

The survey’s most pointed question was aimed squarely at Madigan, asking respondents if they’d be more or less likely to vote for a candidates whose father “is Illinois Speaker of the House and as AttorneyGeneral has rarely pursued political corruption cases.” Not surprisingly, 60 percent said they’d be less likely to vote for such a candidate.

Other questions focus specifically on aspects of Schimpf’s background that he has been highlighting in his campaign. Protection of gun owners’ rights, a two-decade Marine Corps career, refocusing the attorney general’s office on prosecution and Schimpf’s political outsider status all make appearances among the poll’s questions.

Here’s the complete poll:

Illinois State Attorney General's race poll, July 9-10, 2014

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