October 27, 2014
Poll: Illinois voters support ballot initiatives
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The constitutional amendments and advisory referenda on the ballot in Illinois for the mid-term elections appear headed to victories by comfortable margins. That is the indication of a statewide poll sponsored by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Each of the proposals studied garnered well over a majority of support and most were supported by two-thirds to over three-fourths of the voters. The poll questioned both registered voters and those deemed the most likely voters, and the results were essentially the same. The full sample of registered voters has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. The smaller likely voter sample has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.
The two proposed amendments to the 1970 Constitution were widely supported.
- Right to vote. Reflecting the current national debate over voting rights, respondents were asked if they favored or opposed the following provision: “No person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, region, sex, sexual orientation, or income.”
More than seven in ten (71 percent) of registered voters favored or strongly favored this amendment and only 20 percent opposed or strongly opposed. Among likely voters, the results were 69.3 percent favored/strongly favored and 21.3 percent opposed/strongly opposed.
- Rights of crime victims. Respondents were asked, “Would you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would strengthen the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights by increasing victims’ access to proceedings and increasing protections against harassment?”
Seventy percent of the registered voter sample favored or strongly favored making these changes to the constitution, and only 14.5 percent opposed. Among the likely voters, the results were 69.6 percent favored/strongly favored and 15.6 percent opposed/strongly opposed.
The voting rights proposal and the crime victims’ proposal are both amendments to the Illinois Constitution, and conducting this referendum is a constitutionally prescribed step in the process of amending the 1970 Illinois Constitution. These two measures, if approved by the margins this poll indicates, will presumably become new amendments to the constitution when the legislature takes action.
The rest of the proposals included in the institute poll are only advisory to the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor.
- Higher minimum wage. This question asked if voters would favor or oppose a proposal to raise the minimum wage in Illinois from $8.25 per hour to $10 per hour. Seven in ten (71 percent) of the registered voters favored or strongly favored this proposal, while 23.9 percent opposed or strongly opposed it. Among likely voters, the results were essentially the same: 68.6 percent favored or strongly favored the proposed increase while 26.8 percent opposed or strongly opposed.
Partisan differences appeared, with an overwhelming 89.3 percent of Democrats favoring or strongly favoring the minimum wage increase and 68.6 percent of independents favoring. On the Republican side, of the registered voters, 43.5 percent favored or strongly favored and 50.9 percent of registered Republicans opposed or strongly opposed the raise.
Again, the partisan results were essentially the same when only likely voters were included: 89.9 percent of Democrats favored or strongly favored while 67 percent of independents favored or strongly favored. Among likely Republican voters, 55.2 percent opposed or strongly opposed.
- Birth control: Tapping one of the most contentious political conflicts in the nation today, the respondents were asked, “Would you favor or oppose an advisory proposal to require all health insurance plans in Illinois to cover prescription birth control?”
Sixty-two percent of the registered voters favored or strongly favored this proposal and 29.2 percent opposed or strongly opposed. Among Democrats, 80.5 percent of the registered voters favored this plan while only 12.3 percent opposed. Registered Republican voters were firmly against requiring insurance plans to cover birth control, with 59.1 percent opposed or strongly opposed and 32.4 percent strongly favored or favored. Independents were in between the partisans with a majority, 52 percent, favoring the plan and 29.5 percent opposed.
Gender differences were minimal. There were 63.7 percent of women in support and 25.2 percent opposed. Among men, there were 60.1 percent in support and 33.3 percent against. Among likely voters, 59.3 percent strongly favored or favored while 32.6 percent opposed or strongly opposed. The most likely Democrat voters favored the measure by an 81.4 percent favor to 11.7 percent margin. Republicans were nearly the opposite with 64.3 percent opposed or strongly opposed versus 28.1 percent who favored or strongly favored. Independents were closer to Democrats with 61.2 percent favorable and 33.0 percent opposed.
- Millionaire tax increase. In an attempt to measure support for the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax,” respondents were asked, “Would you favor or oppose an advisory proposal to add a 3 percent tax on all income above $1 million a year to provide additional funding to public schools?”
Among registered voters, this measure was favored or strongly favored by 67.6 percent of the respondents and opposed or strongly opposed by 27.6 percent. Among likely voters the results were close to the same, with 65 percent who favored or strongly favored and 30.2 percent opposed or strongly opposed.
The partisan differences were notable. Among Democratic registered voters, this proposal was favored by 84.1 percent and opposed by only 12.8 percent. Among Independents, those who favored or strongly favored were 65.7 percent while those opposed were 27.1 percent. Most (54.6 percent) Republicans opposed or strongly opposed the millionaire’s tax, while 40.5 percent favored or strongly favored it.
Among likely voters, the partisan differences were about the same, with 83.3 percent of the Democrats favoring or strongly favoring the millionaire’s tax, with only 13.2 percent opposing. Two-thirds, 66 percent, of Independents favored or strongly favored, and 27.2 percent opposed. A strong majority, 58.6 percent, of Republicans opposed or strongly opposed this measure while only 36.2 percent of the Republicans most likely to vote favored or strongly favored.
“These results demonstrate again what a polarized state and nation we are,” said John S. Jackson, a visiting professor at the institute and one of the planners of the study. “However, while there are major party differences, with the Independents consistently found in between the two parties, more than a majority of the Republican registered voters were in favor of the constitutional amendments and opposed to all the advisory referenda proposals. More than a majority of Democrats and Independents were in favor of the amendments and the advisory proposals. ”
For more information, contact David Yepsen, institute director, or Jackson, at 618/453-4009, or Charles Leonard, the institute visiting professor who supervised the poll, at 618-303-9099.
Results of the poll are available here.
The Simon Institute Poll interviewed 1,006 registered voters across Illinois. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 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 3 points from the results obtained here.
The likely voter sample of 691 interviews has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The margin of 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 accounted for 30 percent of the sample. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were available. Fieldwork was conducted from Sept. 23 through Oct. 15. No touchtone or “robo” polling was used. Customer Research International reports no Illinois political clients. The survey was paid for with non-tax dollars from the Institute’s endowment fund.
Crosstabs for the referenced questions will be on the institute’s website, paulsimoninstitute.siu.edu.
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.