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PSPPI Poll Examines Voters Thoughts on Direction of Illinois and Political Leaders

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

A new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute indicates more people are optimistic about the direction of Illinois.

Institute polling director Charles Leonard says this spring's poll shows 22-percent of respondents believe the state is moving in the right direction, compared to nine percent last spring.
He says it's difficult not to factor in the election of Governor Pritzker.
"This may be reflective of a honeymoon period for Governor Pritzker in this bounce upwards of optimism."
But, when asked about Pritzker's job rating about two months into his term, only 40 percent gave him a positive rating while 38 percent disapproved.
"Partly this may be cynicism about electoral politics. It could also be that lots of money was spent in negative advertising in the last election cycle and that effect may not have worn off yet."

Illinoisans are generally behind the recently approved minimum wage increase.

Leonard says support is the highest in Chicago at 81 percent.  He says downstate support at 48 percent is a bit surprising considering the call for a two-tiered wage hike because living expenses are less outside the Chicago area.
"Probably there's a subtext there that they don't want to be left out of a wage increase just because of where they live."
Leonard says the divide is even greater across party lines, with 91 percent of democrats supporting the increase, compared to 39 percent of republicans.

"I think that democrats may see a Springfield united behind this."
Leonard says there was bi-partisan support on reform issues with over 80 percent supporting term limits for rank and file lawmakers as well as for leadership.

The poll shows mixed reviews for Illinois' top political leaders.

Institute polling director Charles Leonard says longtime democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin fared the best with 51 percent approving of his job performance compared to 41 percent who disapproved.
"I think people are probably pretty comfortable with Senator Durbin like an old shoe. Even his republican disapproval numbers weren't that drastic."
On the other hand, respondents had an overwhelming negative view of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan with a 20 percent approval rating and a 71 percent disapproval rating. Leonard says his negative numbers may impact other candidates.
"Where his favorables statewide matter elsewhere is in tying him to candidates in other elections."
Leonard admits there may be fatigue on Madigan as the boogey man of Illinois politics considering how it didn't help former Governor Bruce Rauner.

Meanwhile, Senate President John Cullerton keeps a much lower profile and the results show in contrast wth the speaker. Cullerton's approval rating was 24 percent while 35 percent disapproved.

President Donald Trump's approval rating was 39 percent compared to a 59 percent disapproval rating.

The poll was conducted from March 11th through 17th and involved one-thousand voters, resulting in a three percent margin of error.

For more details on the polls, click here.


As a news producer and news anchor on All Things Considered, Brad provides the listeners with a recap of the day's top local and state news as well as breaking news at any given time. Contact WSIU Radio at 618-453-6101 or email wsiunews@wsiu.org
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