* From the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s latest poll…
Legislative Term Limits
Would you favor or oppose a proposal to limit state legislators to a total of eight years of service, whether in the House of Representatives , the State Senate, or a combination ofthe two?
Strongly favor 61.7%
Somewhat favor 17.8%
Somewhat oppose 8.5%
Strongly oppose 8.6%
Other/Don’t know 3.4%
Leadership Term Limits
Would you favor or oppose a proposal to limit how long state legislators could serve in leadership roles – such as Speaker of the House or President of the Senate – before they stepped down to let other legislators lead?
Strongly favor 65.1%
Somewhat favor 17.6%
Somewhat oppose 8.3%
Strongly oppose 6.3%
Other/Don’t know 2.7%
* From the Institute…
In statewide Simon Polls going back to 2010, between 75 and 80 percent of Illinois voters surveyed have supported legislative term limits. Support for leadership term limits — in offices such as Speaker of the Illinois House and President of the Illinois Senate — has been just as strong.
“Regardless of your position on term limits, it’s clear the idea has support. If organizers are able to get the measure on the ballot – and it’s not clear the courts will allow that – it should be easy for them to win approval,” said David Yepsen, director of the Institute. […]
Support for term limits is strong in every demographic, geographic, and ideological subgroup in the Institute’s poll. For example, while Republicans were among the groups most likely to support the term limit proposal (89.9 percent strongly or somewhat in favor), even an overwhelming majority of Democrats approved of it (73.4 percent strongly or somewhat in favor).
In the 2014 Simon Poll, the wording of the term limit question referred to a combined eight - year limit of service in either or both houses, in order to reflect the proposal pushed by the group Term Limits and Reform, backed by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. Previous versions of the question referred to limits of five terms in the Illinois House and three terms in the Illinois Senate.
“Regardless of whom you ask or how you phrase the question, legislative term limits are extraordinarily popular among the Illinois electorate,” said Charlie Leonard, a Simon Institute visiting professor who supervised the poll. “Unable or unwilling to limit their own representatives ’ terms through the ballot box, the voters seem to hope a blanket constitutional amendment will do the job for them.
* And here’s a different take on leadership term limits, which came during a committee debate over a proposed constitutional amendment…
The amendment was sponsored by Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. Sen. Don Harmon D-Oak Park, asked Murphy if he knew how many leaders, past or present, the amendment would have applied to. Of course, as an attorney, Harmon already knew the answer to his question when he asked it. That answer was only two: House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and former Senate President Phil Rock, D-Oak Park.
Murphy said he started toying with the term-limit idea after his first year in the Senate. That would have been 2007, a year that good ol’ Rod Blagojevich went particularly amok. He kept the legislature in session all summer before Madigan essentially told the House to go home and stay there until he called them back.
“It was my first experience with the concept of the consolidation of power in Springfield in just a few hands,” Murphy said.
Harmon had a different take.
“Without strong legislative leaders, can you imagine how awful that summer would have been that you experienced with a rogue governor and no one in the legislature to stand up and say no?” Harmon asked.