SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The 2012 general election is coming up in barely two months, and between now and then, you can expect to see and hear negative advertising featuring someone who’s in office for at least two more years.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, Gov. Pat Quinn is popping up as the villain in some Republican attack ads now.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

For example, in one YouTube video, since taken down, challenger Mark Minor’s campaign suggested downstate Illinois Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) was in lockstep with the governor’s plan to close the supermax prison at Tamms.

But Forby wasn’t.

Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, says Quinn makes an easy punching bag because he’s unpopular, he’s not doing a very good job, and everybody knows who he is.

“If you’re a downstate Democrat, you want to make it about the district,” says Redfield. “And if you’re a Republican, you’d like to make it about state politics.”

Redfield says you can expect Democrat incumbents to distance themselves from Quinn this campaign season; he says Quinn, riding a wave of popularity in the wake of the ouster of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has failed to capitalize in his three-plus years in office because of what Redfield cites as a lack of leadership and management skills.

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