September 14, 2012

Poll: Quinn’s numbers up, Obama leads Romney

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Despite all the state's troubles, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s poll numbers have improved in the last year, according to a new poll of the state's voters released today (Sept. 14) by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The same survey also shows President Barack Obama holding a comfortable lead over Republican Mitt Romney in his bid for re-election, though not by the same margin with which he won the state in 2008.

The poll of 1,261 registered voters was taken Sept. 4-10 and has a margin for error of 2.77 percentage points.  It shows:

•     There are 42.2 percent who approve of Quinn's performance, while 49.1 percent disapprove.  A year ago, only 35.5 percent approved and 56.4 percent disapproved, according to a poll taken in October 2011 by the Institute.   Quinn's approval rating is highest in the Chicago suburbs and lowest downstate.

•     President Obama is supported for re-election by 47.1 percent of registered voters.  Romney captures 33.8 percent. There are 16 percent undecided and 3.1 percent for someone else.   While that 13-point lead is a comfortable margin for the president and makes it likely Illinois is a safe state for him,  that margin is less than the 24.9 percentage-point margin by which he won when he beat  John McCain, 61.8 percent to 36.9 percent, in the state four years ago.  It is also noteworthy that Obama's support in Illinois has dropped below 50 percent.

•     Key to President Obama's lead may be his positive job approval ratings (55.6 percent approve either strongly or somewhat) and favorability ratings (53.7 percent view him either very or somewhat favorably). By contrast, not quite four in 10 (38.7 percent) of respondents view Gov. Romney very or somewhat favorably.

•     Illinois voters' perception of the direction of the country is improving but remains sour.  They are still pessimistic about the direction of the state.

There are 41.6 percent who say the country is headed in the right direction and 49.8 percent who say it’s going in the wrong direction.  A year ago, 19.2 percent said the country was headed in the right direction, while 71.4 percent said it was headed the wrong way.

Also in 2011, 74.5 percent said the state was headed in the wrong direction and only 14.9 percent said it was headed in the right direction.  Today, 69.9 percent say it’s going in the wrong direction and 19.6 percent say it’s going in the right direction.

"The big surprise in this poll is that Gov. Quinn's popularity is actually getting better," said David Yepsen, director of the Institute.  "The state's problems are headline news just about every day and people aren't in a good mood about the state but they do feel better about the way Quinn is handling his job."

"Still, his poll numbers remain underwater because more people disapprove of the job he's doing than approve of it," Yepsen said.

In the city of Chicago, 47.5 percent approve of the job he's doing while 37.9 percent disapprove.  In the suburbs, 50.3 percent approve and 43.7 percent disapprove while downstate, only 25.5 percent approve and 65.1 percent disapprove.

Poll results are available here.

Methodology :

The 2012 Simon Poll interviewed 1,261 registered voters across Illinois. It has a margin for error of plus or minus 2.77 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.  This means that if we were to conduct the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances the results would vary by no more than plus or minus 2.77 points from the results obtained here.  The margin for error will be larger for demographic, geographic and response subgroups.

Live telephone interviews were conducted by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas.  Cell phone interviews were included as well as land-line interviews. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were made available.  Customer Research International reports no Illinois political clients.  The survey was paid for with non-tax dollars from the Institute's endowment fund.

Note:  The "Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Poll," the "Simon Poll" and the "Southern Illinois Poll" are the copyrighted trademarks of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University.  Use and publication of these polls is encouraged -- but only with credit to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale. 

(For more information, contact Charles Leonard at 618/303-9099.)