October 12, 2015

Southern Illinois voters are ‘in a bad mood’

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois voters are unhappy with the direction of governments and the performance of political leaders, according to a new poll by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. 

  • Almost 80 percent of registered voters in the region think the state and the nation are headed in the wrong direction.  Fewer than 15 percent think Illinois and the U.S. are on the right track. 

“These results probably reflect some of Illinois’ current conflicts.  Most polls show that more people feel their state is doing better than the nation. Not here,” John Jackson, a visiting professor at the institute, said. 

  • Political leaders are also getting lukewarm reviews.  Only 37.4 percent approve of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s performance in office, while 50.7 percent disapprove.  About one in eight (11.9 percent) had no opinion about the Republican chief executive.
  • Sen. Mark Kirk’s job-approval rating is 30.4 percent, with 22.9 percent disapproving.  A plurality of voters in the region – 46.6 percent – don’t know how they feel about the GOP lawmaker.
  • Sen. Richard Durbin has approval ratings that exceed his disapprovals, and then not by much.  Half (50.6 percent) approve of the Democrat’s performance and a third (33.5 percent) disapprove. There are 16 percent who don’t know. 

“Voters here have been in a bad mood and they continue to be,” David Yepsen, institute director, said. 

“The only surprise is how many people don’t have an opinion about Sen. Kirk.  For a statewide Republican incumbent to have such ambivalent ratings down here isn’t a good sign for him as he heads into a tough re-election campaign.  He needs to be running well in this area to offset Democratic strengths elsewhere in the state,” he said. 

Charlie Leonard, one of the institute’s visiting professors supervising the poll, said “though Democrats and Republicans are evenly distributed in our Southern Illinois sample, this is still a conservative area, and one might have thought of it as fertile ground for Gov. Rauner. For his approval ratings to be ‘upside down’ in Southern Illinois this early in his administration may not bode well for the pro-business agenda he’s been trying to push.” 

For more information, contact Yepsen at 618/453-4003 or Jackson at 618-303-1240. 

Results of the poll are available here

The Simon Institute’s Southern Illinois Poll interviewed 401 registered voters across the 18 southernmost counties in Illinois. The counties are: Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union, Washington, White and Williamson. 

It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 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 4.9 percentage points from the results obtained here. 

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 made available. Fieldwork was conducted from Sept. 22 through Oct 2.  No auto-dial or “robo” polling is included.  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 polling website, paulsimoninstitute.siu.edu/opinion-polls/simon-institute-poll.php. 

Simon Institute polling data are also archived by three academic institutions for use by scholars and the public. The three open source data repositories are: the University of Michigan’s Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (OpenICPSR; http://openicpsr.org/repoEntity/list), the University of North Carolina’s Odum Institute Dataverse Network (http://arc.irss.unc.edu/dvn/dv/PSPPI), and the Simon Institute Collection at OpenSIUC (http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/ppi/).  

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.