October 10, 2016

Poll: Illinois voters divided over remaining in the state

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Illinois registered voters are divided over whether they would like to leave the state or stay, according to the latest poll from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Specifically, the poll found that 47 percent say they would like to move and 51 percent prefer to remain in the state. Just under 2 percent said they didn’t know.

The poll also showed 20 percent said it was extremely likely, somewhat likely or likely they would leave the state in the coming year. Nearly 80 percent said it was unlikely.

Taxes are the single biggest reason people want to leave, the weather is next, followed by government and jobs. Specifically, 27 percent cite taxes as the motive for departing, 16 percent say weather, 15 percent cite government and 13 percent name jobs and education.

“There are lots of reasons why people want to leave,” David Yepsen, institute director, said. “Not much can be done about the weather but policy makers can do something about perceptions of the quality of services, tax competitiveness, tax fairness and educational and job opportunities.

“People often don’t feel they get good value for their tax dollars and with frequent stories of public corruption or the large numbers of governmental units, it’s no wonder why they feel that way,” he said.

People under 50 are much more likely to want to leave than the rest of the population. Fifty-seven percent of millennials (under 35) want to leave the state while 58 percent of those between 35 and 50 want to leave. Only 29 percent of adults over age 66 want to leave Illinois

“Policy-makers argue over whether people are leaving or not,” Yepsen said. “The most troubling finding in this poll is that so many younger people are thinking about it.  That’s the state’s future.”

The measurements are one indication of how unhappy many people are with the state. The poll also found a staggering 84 percent of Illinois voters said the state was headed in the wrong direction while only 10 percent said it was on the right track.

The poll of 1,000 registered voters was taken Sept. 27-Oct 5 and has a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points.

The poll mirrors what the Gallup Poll found three years ago. Then, 50 percent of Illinois residents said they would leave the state if they could. No other state ranked higher for would-be departures. Gallup also found in 2013 that 19 percent of residents said they were extremely, very or somewhat likely to move in the coming year.

The latest Simon Poll also showed Illinois voters think the state is in worse shape than the country or things closer to home. There were 59 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction while 43 percent said their local area was moving the wrong way.

On a brighter note, there are 52 percent who say the quality of life in their area ranges from excellent to good.

Poll results are available here.

For more results, contact Yepsen at 618/453-4009 or John Jackson, institute visiting professor, at 618/453-4003.

The margin of error for the entire sample of 1,000 voters is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. This means that if we conducted the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances, the population proportion would be within plus or minus the reported margin for error for each subsample. For subsamples, the margin of error increases as the sample size goes down. The margin of error was not adjusted for design effects.

Live telephone interviews were conducted by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas using the random digit dialing method. The telephone sample was provided to Customer Research International by Scientific Telephone Samples. Potential interviewees were screened based on whether they were registered voters and quotas based on area code and sex (<60% female). Interviewers asked to speak to the youngest registered voter at home at the time of the call. Cell phone interviews accounted for 60 percent of the sample. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were made available.

Field work was conducted from Sept. 27 to 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. The data were not weighted in any way. Crosstabs for the referenced questions will be on the institute’s polling website, http://paulsimoninstitute.siu.edu/opinion-polls/index.php

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative. AAPOR works to encourage objective survey standards for practice and disclosure. Membership in the Transparency Initiative reflects a pledge to practice transparency in reporting survey-based findings. 

Simon Institute polling data are archived by four academic institutions for use by scholars and the public. The four open source data repositories are: the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (http://ropercenter.cornell.edu/polls/), the University of Michigan’s Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (http://home.isr.umich.edu/centers/icpsr/), the University of North Carolina’s Odum Institute Dataverse Network (https://dataverse.unc.edu/), 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.