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Poll: Majority would vote to recall Blagojevich

Tuesday, Nov 6, 2007

* I wanted to give my subscribers a bit of time to digest a new poll from the Glengariff Group before sharing it here. Crosstabs are for subscribers only, but here are the toplines and a bit of analysis from the pollster…

• By a margin of 26.2%-65.0% Illinois voters believe the state is on the wrong track. This is an increase of 13% “wrong track” from our May 2007 voter survey.

• Governor Rod Blagojevich’s support has plummeted falling from 50.6% approving of his performance in May 2007 to only 31.5% who approve of his performance today. 61.2% of Illinois voters disapprove of the job Governor Blagojevich is doing. 42% of Illinois voters STRONGLY DISAPPROVE of Governor Blagojevich’s job performance.

• Governor Blagojevich’s job performance has three particularly severe hits:

- Chicago Voters –support has fallen from 75% approval in May to 44% approval in November.
- African American Voters – support has fallen from 81% approval in May to 38% approval in November.
- Democratic Voters – support has fallen from 71% approval in May to 42% approval in November.

• By a margin of 65%-25% Illinois voters support a Constitutional amendment allowing recalls of elected officials. This number represents a 7.5% point increase from May 2007 when the support level was 57.5%-25.0%. Support has increased in every region of the state with the greatest increases occurring in West/Northwest, Central and Southern Illinois among Independents and Republicans.

• By a margin of 52%-37% Illinois would vote to recall Governor Rod Blagojevich if they had the opportunity.

• Governor Blagojevich would be recalled in every region of the state including Cook County and the City of Chicago. Even Democrats support a recall of Governor Blagojevich.

* Methodology…

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a 600 sample, random digit dial survey of registered Illinois voters. The live operator, telephone survey was conducted from November 1-3, 2007 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0% with a confidence level of 95%. Respondents were stratified by region of the state, gender, ethnicity, and age. No questions in this survey were commissioned by any candidate, organization or company other than the Glengariff Group, Inc.

* Meanwhile, Illinois Issues has a new story out that, while including some quotes from the other side, obviously leans in favor of the idea that Illinois voters won’t support a Constitutional Convention next year

Many observers question whether the political climate is suitable for conceiving a new constitution. [..]

The question will be put to voters a year from now, on November 4, 2008. But in order for a new convention to be called, the referendum must win support from either 60 percent of those voting on the question or a majority of all voters. “Those are tough,” says political scientist Kent Redfield. “You’re going to have ballot drop-off at the bottom. People are just going to skip the proposition.”

In fact, more voters — 1,069,939 — ignored the question 19 years ago than those who endorsed the call for a new convention — 900,109. Redfield, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield, says the pooling of dissatisfaction among close observers of state government could buoy support for a new convention. But those political junkies would need to get the remaining electorate hooked on the idea.

It already may be too late. An organized coalition would need 18 months and at least $12 million to wage a PR campaign capable of mustering voter support for a new Con-Con, say Ann Lousin, a research assistant to the 1969-70 convention, and veteran U of I political science professors Sam Gove and James Nowlan. They made that assessment to the Union League Club of Chicago in May. The trio also suggested a crisis in state government, be it a financial meltdown or a major scandal breaking just before next November, might raise enough public ire to swing a successful convention call. […]

“I think you’re going to have organized opposition to Con-Con. The political parties, the politicians, they know how to win with the status quo.” [said Redfield]

Maybe so, but if things don’t start changing soon around here, I can easily see how voters would approve a convention with the idea of tossing the bums out and changing the way business is done.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Levois - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:00 pm:

    I’m sure one never knows what’s likely to happen at one of these constitutions isn’t it a bit hasty to start talking about writing a new constitution? All that’s being discussed are making a change or two.

  2. - Kuz - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:00 pm:


  3. - Old lawyer - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:02 pm:

    Two things justify a Con-Con by themselves:
    Merit selection

    + overturning Pat Quinn’s reduction of the General Assembly, which gave us the 4 Tops and gridlock.

  4. - Good poll results - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:10 pm:

    Nice to see the slow learners, oops, I mean die-hards are catching on. :)

  5. - Kush Oakenfold - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:11 pm:

    Hopefully some people with some brains would be rewriting Illinois’s state constitution.
    Maybe we could let Rod and Emil craft it, then we wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  6. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:12 pm:

    Is recall a strategy for dealing with Blagojevich that makes sense?

    Under the best case scenario, what’s the quickest the Illinois Constitution can be amended and then have the recall voted?

    If Blagojevich is really the problem, why not just have a push to have him resign?

    BTW, to the extent Illinios is on the wrong track, what do people want done about state government? I suspect the lack of consensus about what the citizenry wants from state gov’t is part–perhaps the biggest part–of making governing difficult for our politicians.

    Blagojevich is a goof, and probably worse. But if you made a top ten list of things that state gov’t should be doing, how would axing Blagojevich affect the list? What should be getting done that isn’t getting done because of Blagojevich’s arrogance, quirks, precarious legal situation and other shortcomings?

  7. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:17 pm:

    Con-Con is an arcane issue for the general public, and current contempt for one office holder is not going to translate into widespread support for Con-Con to put a recall clause into the state constitution. As Carl states, there are probably more effective ways of solving the perceived issue at hand, if time is of the essence. The undervote on the last Con-Con is shockingly large, and an almost insurmountable problem if a huge PR campaign is not in the works.

  8. - MOON - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:20 pm:


    Merit selection “is in the eyes of the beholder”. Merit selection is just another way of placing the power of appointment in a rigged selection committee as opposed to the electorate. Admittedly, there are unqualified judges, but merit selection will never change that

    With regards to the 4 tops and gridlock, that is a result of our governor and not the legislature. The greater the number of legislature the greater the chance for freelancing on their part and the breakdown of discipline and order. With the 4 tops there is some semblance of unity; if only Jones would live up to his word, and the Gov. would quit his grandstanding

  9. - Jim Rockford - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:37 pm:

    Hey Moon - You don’t realize judges are already appointed by a “rigged selection committee”? Tell me, how is life on planet Naive?

  10. - ironman - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 12:48 pm:

    I feel that the people of illinois got what they deserve. Everybody has understood of this corrupt gov. and what he has been doing the first term and now his second term. People had a choice during the last election and now they should be proud of themselves. ironman

  11. - Captain America - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:03 pm:

    It’s somewhat heartening to know that that the Governor’s poll numbers have been adversely affected by his miserable performance this year. Excepting for the hysteria associated with the possibilty of payless paydays for state workers and mass transit doomsdays, one had the impression that the general public/electorate was not paying any attention to Springfield. Blago’s got to be “weeping and gnashing his teeth” about his terrible poll numbers. Working people seem not to apprecaite his endeavors on their behalf - the ingrates!

    If the presnt level of dysfunction in State government and the appalling ineptitutde of Todd Stoger continues, I think voters might approve a Con-Con based upon a “throw the rascals out” and a “pox on all your houses” atttiude.”

  12. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    Who will write the new constitution? Probably the guy that wrote the current one. He may have the new version in hand already…

    If someone wanted a con-con, this past year was the perfect setup for someone planning to promote one. The article says you would need 18 months to promote one. The “budget crisis” started getting a lot of press in May, that’s 18 months. And there are several players with nice pots of cash.

  13. - MOON - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:06 pm:



  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:09 pm:

    Please turn off your caps.

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:10 pm:

    ===Who will write the new constitution? Probably the guy that wrote the current one.===

    Um, huh?

  16. - MOON - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:12 pm:

    yes sir

  17. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:19 pm:

    Thanks. lol

  18. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:23 pm:


    Are there any accurate poll numbers on how many Illinois voters would favor recall plus flogging for Blago?

    I suspect that it would break 75% approval.

    – SCAM

  19. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:28 pm:

    Let’s try to keep those ideas to a minimum, shall we? lol

  20. - RFK fan - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:41 pm:

    Regarding Blago and Con Con, here’s my thing: I would vote to recall him in a heartbeat, but am worried about the standard–I think it needs to either involve criminality or exceedingly poor mismanagement of office–I’m sure we’ve had the latter if the former hasn’t been proven yet. I wouldn’t want it to be so easy to pull off that it would be just a way to reverse the results one didn’t like of an election, though.

    The argument that “if you have a Con Con you don’t know what you’re going to get”–a pro Life amendment to the state constitution, the Geiko commercial guy as the state mascot, etc.–isn’t lost on me. But things just seem to be really, really broken, folks, and we need a serious, comprehensive effort to make the state at least minimally governable.

  21. - Papa Legba - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:51 pm:

    At best the state leadership is completely dysfunctional. At worst you could describe it as in crisis mode. If there was a recall provision, how quickly could a politician be recalled?

    What measures would be in place to keep the “outgoing” person from creating more damage through issuing no-bid contracts or packing the states pay roll with hacks sporting 4 year appointments at outrageous salaries?

    There could be considerable damage done in a month or two by a vindictive guv who knows he will be show the door soon.

  22. - Jim Rockford - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 1:56 pm:

    Moon, Sorry, I didn’t make myself clear earlier. Which candidates end up on the judicial ballot is determined by a cabal of political hacks. The winner is whoever is the most politically connected; legal ability is a non-factor. Who becomes judge is almost always determined by who gets slated; the voters really have no say in the matter. Merit selection is the way to go.

  23. - Levois - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:00 pm:

    Since we’re talking about a con-con I wonder what are the odds that we can bring back cumulative voting in elections for members of the Illinois House of Reps?

  24. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:08 pm:

    Voters tend to have short memories. If govt continues in its current state, or there are major problems next budget cycle (june ends the current state fiscal year). I think there will be sufficient support for a con-con.

    I am not sure what they mean as a crisis “just before” novemebr. i.e. what is just before? october? The budget only passed this year (no bimp yet) because Jones made a false promise. The field has been layed for a much more protected biudget fight next year, especially with blago doing smart things like firing browns wife. In short, we ain;t seen nothing yet, and I expect what is coming will hurl us into a con-con.

  25. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:09 pm:

    I should add, the biggest problem facing blago is himself. He uses a scorched earth approach to dealing with his rivals which leaves no room for reconcilation later on. Tunr many burning bridges stand between the Gov and the General Assembly.

  26. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:13 pm:

    Ghost, two things…

    Once that attitude is “burned in” it’s tough to get free of it.

    It was Mapes’ wife, not Brown’s wife, who was fired.

  27. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:14 pm:

    My understanding is that Madigan played a large role in writing our current constitution. Even if his role was limited, he will certainly be a primary author should a con-con come to fruition.

  28. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:17 pm:

    MJM certainly played a key role, but there were a lot of people at that Con-Con and he was a young, untested unknown.

    He was, however, Mayor Richard J. Daley’s political “godson,” which helped, I’m sure.

  29. - Pat Collins - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:20 pm:

    more legislators

    Why do we think that cumulative voting will give us a real legislature? The reason the Leaders have power is the cost of elections. Making more races won’t reduce the cost, it will just make MORE people wanting money so they can be elected.

    Until you ban TV and radio ads, the cost of an election WON’T go down, and the ability of the leaders to control things will be the same.

    keep those ideas to a minimum,

    So I guess my idea of sending the Gov to Singapore and packing his bags is out…….

  30. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:28 pm:

    er Mapes wife, I seem to have a mental block on keeping that straight.

    Blago could definetly keep everything “fired up” for a sufficient meltdown next year.

  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:29 pm:

    Agreed. I just think the IL Issues story is premature. We don’t know what will happen, but the trend is not the Constitution’s friend right now, in my opinion.

  32. - Ghost - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:43 pm:

    it is definetly way to speculative at this point. It does follow a trend in some media outlets that when you dont have a story, create one. This kind of speculation for such a far off event strikes me as filler for a slow news day more then anything else.

  33. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 2:56 pm:

    Thanks for the clarification Rich.

    I expect most of the politicos in Springfield would be too risk averse to push for a con-con, and that seems to be the conventional wisdom. But after this past 6 months, I wonder. If Madigan feels he has the leverage and has some things he would like to change…

  34. - anon again - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 3:03 pm:

    If we get this will the 18yr olds be able to vote on it or should we make them wait until they are 21

  35. - Truthful James - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 3:15 pm:

    The devil gave an Illinoisan a choice of three rooms in which to spend eternity. Behind the first door were souls being flogged mercilessly and continually with chains; behind the second were souls in burning flames forever. Behind the third were a group of souls standing in excrement up to their waists, conversing with othr and drinking coffee. The Illinoisan told Satan, I’ll take the last.

    He walked and down the steps. The excrement reached his waist. He was given a cup of delicious coffee.

    And over the P.A. system, the mudiv dtopped and a voice boomed out: “Coffee break is now over. Everybody go back to standing on your head.”

    And here we are in Illinois with the coffee break just about over.

  36. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 3:23 pm:

    Rich Miller wrote, “By a margin of 65%-25% Illinois voters support a Constitutional amendment allowing recalls of elected officials.”

    Once again, the Illinois Green Party proves itself to hold the majoritarian position on an important issue–the Green Party has always supported the full Democracy package–initiative, referendum, AND recall.

    “I think you’re going to have organized opposition to Con-Con. The political parties, the politicians, they know how to win with the status quo,” said Redfield.

    They don’t need to oppose a ConCon in order to maintain the status quo–they get to write the rules for delegate selection/election AFTER the public votes on the issue of holding a ConCon. In fact, it may be to their advantage to support a ConCon, adopting rules that encourage the selection/election of delegates that support the status quo, which would at least give the IMPRESSION that the public had an opportunity for real change and rejected it.

    RFK fan wrote, “I wouldn’t want it to be so easy to pull off that it would be just a way to reverse the results one didn’t like of an election, though.”

    Why not? If the voting public wants to reverse an election, they should be able to do so–remember a recall would ultimately be in the hands of a majority of the voting public–that’s Democracy.

    Levois wrote, “Since we’re talking about a con-con I wonder what are the odds that we can bring back cumulative voting in elections for members of the Illinois House of Reps?”

    Kudos to Levois. I say abolish the Senate in favor of a unicameral state legislature and elect representatives proportionally from larger, multi-seat super districts. 51% deserves 51% of the representation–not 100%.

  37. - Old lawyer - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 4:08 pm:

    Re merit selection -
    Yes, there would still be politics involved, but a different kind of politics. And, most importantly, the large number of Cook County judges at the bottom of the barrel would be very unlikely to get through the merit selection panel. It wouldn’t solve all problems of the judiciary, but it would be a huge advance. As it works now, many of the associate judges are better than the full circuit judges because they need to go through a panel to be appointed.

    Re cumulative voting -
    It broke down strict party loyalty by allowing reps. to be elected from districts controlled by the opposing party. That led people from outside the mainstream of the party to have a chance. While the amount of money (and therefore its power) has increased, it’s easier for the leaders to control the results in a single-member district.

  38. - Gregor - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 7:24 pm:

    Blago likes the idea of recall because with a huge warchest he can buy enough opposition media to control public perception and direct it against those he wants to hurt or destroy at any time. It is a huge club he can threaten with. As he now uses threats of bankrolling opposition candidates to anybody that challenges him. He’s sure in his deluded mind he can spin enough PR himself to stay afloat, no matter what.

    If not recall, at least we could refine the rules for impeachment.
    End result would be the same as recall, but the process would be more political and judicial, and less influenced by any one rich guy with an axe to grind.

    Term limits prevent a good politician from staying and doing more good work, (okay,um, that’s mostly a theoretical in Illinois since Stevenson and Simon) balanced against being an easy way to keep a bad one from lingering. I think that a system that uses term limits effectively switches the power base from the guy in the big chair to the guy that PUTS him or her in the big chair. And THAT guy (or guys), the kingmaker, is usually not in a position to be directly responsible to an electorate of any sort. He runs his own agenda under the table, and makes our real government just a shell to cover his shadow government. So I think if we vote for term limits, we have to take into consideration where that re-concentrates the power and influence, and take steps to protect the process and keep it responsive to the people.

    I agree strongly that the cost of TV and radio advertising for campaigns creates a lot of what’s wrong with our system today. It is the fundraising to generate media dollars that has warped our system and opened the door to tempting corruption. So many of the problems could be short-circuited if we made the stations play election spots for free on an equal-time basis for all official candidates, with strict rules against mudslinging. I think if that happened it would also mean more media spending would get reapportioned to print media and state papers would see some revitalization. Internet media would also be stimulated as a cheap alternative.

    If the media push for a con-con neds a sugar daddy, wouldn’t it be nice if a rich crazy guy like Oberweiss stopped running for things he’ll never win and put his cash behind driving a permanent improvement of our constitutional process?

  39. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Nov 6, 07 @ 9:51 pm:

    Squid, how often should they be able to reverse it? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually? No limits?

  40. - Squideshi - Wednesday, Nov 7, 07 @ 2:44 am:

    Steve, no limits. Who has the right to set limits on what the majority of the voting public wants?

    Let me ask a similar question that the founding fathers (and mothers) may have considered: How often should the people be able to overthrow the government? Monthly? Quarterly? Annually? No limits? Recall doesn’t even approach this.

  41. - We still on this recall stuff - Wednesday, Nov 7, 07 @ 8:26 am:

    I don’t see it possible to recall a gov this term. I think it will have to be worked in the next time we elect a gov. I do beleive the Gov. Blagojevich is doing a great job running portions of the state, but we dont hear anything about that. If we want to recall a dignitary lets start with the George Bush.

  42. - Blah Go Already - Tuesday, Nov 13, 07 @ 3:38 pm:

    Whatever it takes to make Bla goya vich go away is all I want for Christmas. Feds, Con Con, 2010 Election.

  43. Pingback Governor’s yard sale « fitzfabulous - Monday, May 19, 08 @ 10:34 pm:

    […] We used to call the neighborhood garage sale annual extravaganza in Chicago’s Ravenswood Manor the Governor’s Yard Sale because Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich lives there and when first elected, socialized and pitched a table of goods to hawk. Now that he’s generally hated for doing *nothing* on the taxpayer’s dime except hand over jobs and $$$ to campaign contributors (allegedly), he’s nowhere to be seen. But the name stuck in my mind because they’re some of the loveliest homes in Chicago and there’s good stuff to be bought. Totally a solid mix of junk for cheap and antiques for relatively cheap. […]

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