September 02, 2014

Online access to Simon Institute polls available

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Public opinion data from the polling done by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is now available online at institutional repositories at SIU, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Michigan. 

More than five years of data collected from the annual Simon Institute Poll and the Southern Illinois Poll is now available and accessible online at OpenSIUC at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, The Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and OpenICPSR at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. 

“We conduct polls to high standards and are excited scholars and people around the world will now have easy, free access to our research for their own use,” David Yepsen, institute director, said. 

The Simon Institute Poll is an annual statewide poll asking Illinois voters’ opinions on important current public policy topics, typically with a focus on state budget issues, political and electoral reform, politics, and social issues.  The Southern Illinois Poll collects voter opinion in the southernmost 18 counties in Illinois. 

The Simon Institute Poll of registered voters in Illinois has been conducted since 2008 and the Southern Illinois polls have been conducted since 2010.  In addition to helping chart public opinion for policy makers, graduate students also use the polling to include questions useful to them in their papers, dissertations and research projects. 

Kent Dolezal, the Simon Graduate Research Fellow at the institute and a graduate student in economics said, “This data is not only useful when looking at what people thought about certain issues but which issues people were thinking about. When we look at the polls over time, we can see where the public policy conversation has been, how it is evolving and, frankly, whether it’s making any progress at all.” 

Shiloh Dietz, the Celia M. Howard Fellow at the institute and a graduate student in geography and environmental resources said, “This data is rich with possibilities and provides important historical documentation of trends in Illinois. It could be used to look at trends in public opinion, document geographic differences across the state, or analyze voter opinions on political reform when drafting reform policies.” 

A range of public policy issues is present in the collection. Issues include primary and general elections, potential political reforms, political polarization, immigration, elected officials’ approval ratings, public disclosure and corruption, Illinois budget and pensions, guns and society, and social issues, such as abortion, marriage rights, and medical marijuana. Standard demographic data is also included. 

At OpenSIUC, the poll release is part of the Simon Institute Collection, which can be accessed at  The Odum Institute Paul Simon Archive can be accessed at and The OpenICPSR archive can be accessed at 

For more information, contact Charles Leonard, institute visiting professor, at 618/303-9099. 

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.