April 27, 2010

Poll reflects voters’ abortion, gay marriage views

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois’ registered voters are more socially conservative than those in the rest of the state, according to a Southern Illinois Poll finding released Tuesday by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

The poll shows 29 percent of southern Illinois voters say abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. Statewide, only 18 percent think that.

It also shows 49 percent think there should be no legal recognition of gay and lesbian unions -- whether full marriage or civil unions. Statewide, 31 percent believe that.

“But the numbers show the region may not be as socially conservative as some think,” said David Yepsen, director of the Institute, which is located at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The poll reveals that 68 percent believe abortion should be legal under all or certain circumstances. Statewide, that figure is 79 percent.

And 45 percent believe gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to legally marry or form civil unions. The statewide figure is 65 percent.

“You can look at it another way and argue southern Illinoisans are somewhat evenly divided on the gay marriage questions,” Yepsen said. “There are 49 percent who want no legal recognition of the relationship and 45 percent who are comfortable with at least some.”

The poll of 401 registered voters in the 18-county area of southernmost Illinois was taken April 5 to 13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. The interviews were conducted for the Institute by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas. It reports no Illinois political figures as clients and was paid with non-tax dollars from the Institute’s endowment fund.

The statewide figures come from the Simon Poll taken by the institute in the fall of last year. It has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Complete poll results are here.

(For more information, contact David Yepsen at 618/453-4009 or at dyepsen@siu.edu.)

(Note: The “Simon Poll” and “Southern Illinois Poll” are applying to be the copyrighted trademarks of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University. Use or publication of these polls is encouraged - but only with credit to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIUC.)