September 26, 2012

Poll shows Illinois residents favor political reforms

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Illinois residents overwhelmingly believe that corruption exists in Illinois government and support significant reforms, according to a poll released today (Sept. 26) from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The poll of 1,261 registered voters across the state was conducted Sept. 4-10.  The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.77 percent.  Results of the poll on ethics and reform issues, along with additional explanations, are available here.

The poll is released in conjunction with a two-day conference in Chicago later this week that will examine the state’s troubling history of political corruption and examine opportunities for reform.  The Institute-sponsored “What’s in the Water in Illinois? Ethics & Reform Symposium on Illinois Government,” is Thursday and Friday, Sept. 27-28.  The symposium will feature leading political ethicists and political scientists from throughout the nation.

"The 2012 poll, just like previous surveys we have done, shows strong support for reform issues, such as changing the legislative redistricting process and strengthening conflict-of-interest regulations," said Charles Leonard, the Simon Institute visiting professor who supervised the poll.  "What is a little bit jarring -- if not completely surprising -- is Illinois voters' perception of how pervasive corruption is in the state. More than 60 percent say corruption is widespread in Illinois business. Three-fourths say corruption is widespread in Illinois government. Almost 60 percent say Illinois' government is more corrupt than in other states. Our hope is that at some point our leadership will coalesce to address these problems in a serious way."

The Institute developed the questionnaire, and Customer Research International, San Marcos, Texas, conducted the poll.  It reports no Illinois political clients.  The Institute paid for the project out of non-state funds from its endowment.

For more information, contact Leonard at 618/303-9099 or by email at

Note:  The "Simon Poll" and the "Southern Illinois Poll" are 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 Southern Illinois University Carbondale.