Illinois' race for governor is shaping up as one of the most competitive in the nation. And it's impossible to tell who's winning.
For a while, Bruce Rauner was ahead. The Republican private equity investor kept besting Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in every poll.
Then it was Quinn's turn. A Chicago Tribune poll, published Sept. 13, showed the Democrat with an approval rating of only 36 percent, but with enough support in Chicago and Cook County to put him in the lead.
"You know what this is going to be a back-and-forth polling," Rauner said in reaction to it. "The only poll that matters is Nov. 4. It's going to be a very close race. We've always planned on it. It'll be very close. We're going to win it."
How's this for back and forth?
Results from a new, automated poll from We Ask America shows the two candidates in a statistical dead heat.
Who is in the lead may not matter much to voters who are concerned about the candidates' policies.
But politics is also about perception. Campaign donors closely watch polls; a close race? They may be apt to fork over some more money. Too big a gap? Why bother?
Despite Rauner's seemingly breezy comments about that Tribune poll, the candidates themselves keep their eyes on polls too -- not just to see who's in front, but also to key in on voters' attitudes, so campaign messages can be tweaked, crafted and catered to various voting blocks, right up to election day.