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Question of the day

Monday, Jan 27, 2014

* OK, here are the questions I came up with for our gubernatorial candidate questionnaire. I took your suggestions and your follow-up preferences, tweaked some of them and settled on those that I think the candidates are most likely to answer.

I like all the questions, but I really believe we need to whittle down this massive list. So, take the poll, eliminate as many as you want and then please try to explain your votes in comments. Thanks.

…Adding… A deep divide is emerging in comments between those who love the “wonky” questions and hate the more personal questions, and those who prefer some of the personal questions.

My own feeling is that at least some of these personal questions are helpful to figuring out who these people are. Plus, some of those were suggested by a few of our top commenters here.

The bottom line, for me, is that this doesn’t have to be a completely boring exercise that the candidates will ignore or evade.


customer surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller        

63 Comments
  1. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    The only one I’m really wedded to, by the way, is “Who is your favorite CapitolFax.com commenter?”


  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    “FYI, ‘Willy’ has 2 “L”s, and only my Mom calls me ‘Bill’…”

    I mean, if they were wondering.


  3. - The Captain - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    Many of these questions are likely to come up in other debates or questionnaires but only Capitol Fax can get these guys on the record on their plans for invading and conquering Missouri and I was very upset to see that question didn’t make the cut.


  4. - belmont cragin - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    I do want one of 47th Ward’s questions. I’d love to hear them respond to a job interviewer’s gotcha.


  5. - Greatplainser - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    I like many of the questions at the bottom of the list. They offer a different take on the candidtaes. The top half are wonky in nature and are already being asked and some are too easily avoided so their meaning can be lost. I like #20 and #25. #20 Shows the candidates familiarty with Illinois and #25 can show the depth of the individual instead of typical campaign BS.


  6. - Conservative Republican - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    19 through 26, come on… they’re like Miss America Contest questions. No one cares about such nonsense and no answer sheds any light on the candidate. Let Eric Zorn ask these questions.


  7. - Fan - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Let’s all move on from the Marriage issue.


  8. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Eliminate the gun question, the “local” questions, and the cutesy bio stuff at the end.

    Others very good.


  9. - Timmeh - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    They’re all pretty good. I voted for the baseball one though, because I don’t like baseball.


  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Some of you are just a little too boring for my taste, I suppose. I mean, c’mon, not everything has to be a Harvard MBA assignment.


  11. - Conservative Republican - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    You solicited the poll…


  12. - Timmeh - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    Oh: ” Do you favor repeal of the state’s Medicaid expansion under Obamacare?”
    Because it’s too national and vitriolic. They’re most likely either going to take the national party line or avoid the question. Not worth asking and likely asked elsewhere.


  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    Yes, CR, I’m just saying that you don’t have to be such a stick in the mud about it.


  14. - dave - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    1-6, 10-12 are the most important questions, imo.

    I like the fun questions, as they do tell us a little about the candidates are as people rather than as political robots.


  15. - an innocent observer - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    Too many questions, I think we should narrow it down to our top 10, then ask again tomorrow.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    More is learned sharing a beverage, playing golf, playing poker, and discussing anything but the issues about the candidate themselves than any position-paper Mumbo-Jumbo parsed questionnaire.

    Think about it. Co-workers. You know more about them after sharing an after work casual meal or beverage or a social event beyond work.

    If I want to know where they stand on Pensions, I go to any number of sources.

    Do they “Hit” on “16″ in blackjack? More is learned about them there;

    Likes, dislikes, sense of humor, where they actually SEE humor, Those speak volumes too.


  17. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Well, Cinci can count on a vote…


  18. - Stones - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    I would eliminate 7,9, 16, 18-20, 20-24. Just seem to be overkill.

    I mean - what does a person’s favorite state park really tell you about them?


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===I mean - what does a person’s favorite state park really tell you about them?===

    Have they even been to a state park, and as governor, they oversee that agency.

    Where they have been? Special memory to give personal insight about them. Fishing? Hiking? A first memory as a child, or special moment in life.

    Tells quite a bit, unless you go 3 word answers, which would also speak volumes.


  20. - TooManyJens - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    ==I mean - what does a person’s favorite state park really tell you about them? ==

    It might give you an idea of what they know about the state they want to govern.

    I would lose the state fair question, since I don’t think anybody votes on the basis of that and I also don’t think it says much about the candidate as a person. I’d also be tempted to get rid of the Peotone question because I’m too cynical to think anything will ever change on that.


  21. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===and I also don’t think it says much about the candidate as a person===

    I dunno about that. The Illinois Policy Institute has attacked the State Fair for years. I’d like to know where they stand on this because it gives us some insight on where they are with the IPI guys.


  22. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    My votes were all based on the same premise, as a person who has filled out a number of questionnaires, the shorter and more tightly focused the survey, the more thought that can go into the response. Far too many questions here.

    I would also say the same thing if this was a list for a candidate debate.

    Hopefully, Rich will give us an iterative chance at the list after this first weeding…


  23. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    ===Far too many questions here.===

    Well, yeah, that’s the whole point of what we’re doing today.


  24. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    One technique you might use is to have the candidates pick fifteen questions to answer.

    This would allow the candidates to show where their priorities are.


  25. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    There’s also the winnowing method of having the audience pick their top ten questions.


  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    ===One technique you might use is to have the candidates pick fifteen questions to answer.===

    That’s not a bad idea at all, Carl. If there is no consensus here, then maybe we can just send ‘em the whole thing and ask them to answer at least ten.


  27. - Anthony - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    I would like to know how they would each explain what a front-line public servant is to the people of Illinois?


  28. - Nonplussed - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    I would change the State Agency question to include “except CMS”. Otherwise delete that question.


  29. - jim - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Just a general inquiry here — is anybody who’s normal paying attention to the ongoing campaigns. I never hear any regular people bring up the various contests, especially the governor’s race. I realize the people on this blog pay a lot of attention to politics, but we’re a distinct minority. If my supposition is correct — that most people aren’t listening — how will that effect the poll numbers showed Rauner, Davis, others leading or trailing. by the way, I tried to watch last week’s gubernatorial debate and it was awful. normal people aren’t going to watch that self-serving garbage. any thoughts?


  30. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    I voted to eliminate 9, 14,15,16 and 19.

    I can’t imagine any of them saying Madigan is less than 90% responsible, and Democrats are 100% responsible. They are Republican politicians and wouldn’t be able to help themselves. Also, I don’t think stipulating that the favorite Dem be alive would stop them from answering Paul Simon anyway.

    Cubs, Sox, Cardinals? Only Hillary would answer “all of the above” and I don’t want any of these guys to be tempted there. We’ll find out their allegience soon enough.

    The rest are keepers.


  31. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===One technique you might use is to have the candidates pick fifteen questions to answer.===

    As long as they state the reason they are not addressing the others with a short blurb like:

    Not important to me
    or
    Not my problem
    or
    You have to elect me to find out
    or


  32. - Liandro - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    7: too hyper-specific on an issue that probably isn’t a top priority for any of them
    13-15: more droll than useful
    16: because I’m leery of baiting for red meat
    17: anyone who could be described in one word probably shouldn’t be governor
    19: because the answer is clearly Bears
    20 and 21: too local
    22: because the answer is clearly Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai
    26: too specific

    Several of those could easily be interchanged with ones that made the cut, I just was trying to cut the overall number of personal interest questions.


  33. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    I see value in all of the questions. I don’t know if i would get rid of any of them. Many of the questionnaires these guys fill out will be as long or longer. Most of the questions should be followed by “Explain your answer.”

    I like the idea of the Madigan question, but I would change it to avoid allowing them to dump all the blame on Madigan and walk away. Too easy.

    Perhaps a follow up such as: If you think Madigan holds more than 50% what would you do to change the balance of power that previous Governors have not?

    #13 would perhaps be better phrased as “Which previous governor would you be most attempt to emulate?”

    I might add one question: Where is the best place to buy a Carhartt? (This is for us downstaters, just to see if they know what it is.)


  34. - TooManyJens - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    I stand corrected on the state fair thing. The more you know…


  35. - Irish - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    I voted to eliminate 22 - 25. They are just going to make something up that plays well.

    Rauner will probably answer question #22 with “The Notebook” and “Die Hard 2.”

    And Quinn would answer that he is too frugal to pay to see a movie.
    I am assuming Quinn gets these questions also?


  36. - Lil Squeezy - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    I would like to change #13:

    13: Excluding Jim Edgar, which governor from Illinois history do you most admire?


  37. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Does this questionnaire go to Gov. Quinn or just the republican candidates?


  38. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    RtB, it’s going to everybody.


  39. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    Didn’t vote for any of them, although #26 is probably the weakest one (sorry Rich). I like the “personal” questions; they do provide some insight into the candidates’ life. Actually, there needs to be another one or two. There are no questions about agriculture, there are no questions about infrastructure and funding, and most importantly, no question about Township government (okay, the last one might be a little off-the-wall).
    The suggestion to allow the candidate to answer just fifteen is probably the best way to go, (10 is too few). While reasons might be helpful, would void the idea of limiting the number of questions answered…


  40. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    P.S. Nothing on parenting or children, either. Pope Francis seems to be setting the bar, here. With no children of his own, he seems to be accepting and inclusive of kids and babies…


  41. - Keyser Soze - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    I’m with Willy. The personal taste questions say a lot about a candidate, most particularly, whether they are in touch with the rest of us.


  42. - downstate hack - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    It’s the economy stupid. Only questions relating to Illinois’ fiscal mess are needed. The State is in bankruptcy and real answers are needed. Quinn has actually made the situation worse, and the repub answer of “running the State like a business” is meaningless.


  43. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    Thanks, Rich. Tough to cut. I like the combo of fun (but potentially revealing) and serious questions.

    Remember, folks, newspapers will have their own serious questions, so if you want more budget questions that candidates will dodge, you can certainly find those dodged answers.

    If you’re looking to reduce number of questions, you could ask #14 of Quinn and #15 of the republicans.

    Anyway, I wasn’t much help in elimination - just voted to eliminate #17 (softball), #19 (not revealing), and #23 (don’t care).

    It wasn’t part of the vote, but my fave questions are #6 on the policy side (some of either party favor legalization, so it brings that up, plus it doesn’t let them debate fact of overcrowding) and #20 State Park on the fun side (I don’t think anyone else will ask it and it could speak to a priority they hold).


  44. - PublicServant - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    Will you be able to produce a followup questionnaire and will you offer a categorization of their responses as, for example, “Total Dodge”, “False”, “Mostly False”, “Somewhat False”, “Misleading” or “Wow! Mostly True” or something like that, Rich?


  45. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Not sure it is fair to make the candidates provide their collective bargaining strategy in Question #12. I would strike it.

    I like Question #24–although it is probably aimed squarely at Bruce Almighty, right?


  46. - Jon Zahm - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Amanda Vinicky called around last week to say that the Rauner camp had indicated they are NOT doing any questionnaires. Considering that Rauner has no voting record at any level that is disturbing and should be widely reported on.


  47. - Sunshine - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Kicked 13, 14, 15, 16, 22, and 23. Liked the state park question as it shows candidate is truly interested in the preservation of our parks and the recreation it brings to many, not to mention the tourist dollars.

    The other questions, to me, are wasting time better spent on them trying to think of one word to describe themselves. Talk about a gotcha.

    Of course this will permit us to see how adept each is dancing around the questions and completely avoiding making a commitment. Then again it could bring out the best and brightest?


  48. - muon - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    There are two types of questions here: policy and personal. Both types have value in assessing the candidates. I looked at the list from the perspective of making something uniquely Cap Fax. I also like Rich’s thought that it should be a list that the candidates won’t find too boring to complete. My goal was to leave five from the policy side and five from the personal side.

    On the policy side, the first five questions all seem like ones that will appear in a standard major media questionnaire, so I’d strike them on the grounds of being repetitive and potentially boring. Of the next seven, items 10 and 11 get at the same aspect of the candidate and agencies can be eliminated yet have their function remain, so I’d eliminate 10. Lastly I’ll cut 8 since both 8 and 9 deal with transportation policy and 9 provides more room for varied answers.

    On the personal side I’d cut anything not specific to Illinois since Cap Fax prides itself on sticking to state issues - so 14, 15, 17, 18, and 22-25 get cut. I’m also cutting 16 since that borders on a policy question and that leaves me with my list of five personal questions.


  49. - Money bags - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    What about the expiring of income tax and how will they fill 6 Billion hole


  50. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    ==Amanda Vinicky called around last week to say that the Rauner camp had indicated they are NOT doing any questionnaires.==

    I assume that this will be covered by all the media outlets in this race.

    Also, shouldn’t this automatically disqualify Rauner from getting endorsed by newspapers?


  51. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    ===Amanda Vinicky called around last week to say that the Rauner camp had indicated they are NOT doing any questionnaires. Considering that Rauner has no voting record at any level that is disturbing and should be widely reported on.===

    Goes back to the “Earned” media, and earning the coverage, and being relevant in the race. Not having three nickels together does not make the media take notice.

    Besides, (burying the lead), Bruce Rauner has cornered a significant amount of cache, and everything cache means.

    It’s up to the “2PACS” now, then maybe the media might glom on.


  52. - walker - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    I vote for Rich being the final selector of questions, after this input.

    His house. His party.

    Plus he’s screwier than many of us.


  53. - walker - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    “Who’s your favorite Republican” might better be a surprise question in person, just to see if he can think of anybody.


  54. - Bill White - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    I like this idea . . .

    === That’s not a bad idea at all, Carl. If there is no consensus here, then maybe we can just send ‘em the whole thing and ask them to answer at least ten. ===

    The questions each candidate chooses to answer will itself be revealing of the candidates priorities.


  55. - Mama - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 4:32 pm:

    I would have added 2 more question. 1. Listing every state agency (including CMS), and asking them if they know what the state workers do to make each agency work. 2. What does the IL Constitution state for?


  56. - Mama - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    My bad #2 should read: You have to uphold the IL Constitution. Do you know what the IL Constitution stands for?


  57. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 6:13 pm:

    If Rauner doesn’t fill one out, AA would be glad to complete one “on his behalf.” #LookOutBrucey


  58. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 6:26 pm:

    Maybe I’m too cynical, but nowadays I really couldn’t care less about their responses to “Who/what is your favorite….” or “What was the last….”

    Just because today, I feel that the “right responses” to those are probably researched more than available solutions to issues–regardless of whether they’re running for office or already in.


  59. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 7:28 pm:

    Overall decent mix, although I genuienely stand by my own suggested, quite relevant questions, and one other among the Other ideas, which sadly, were not seen fit to even make the “cut…!!”

    Gee, after years of regular Comments, and as I obviously, as such, apparently have most definitively been honored with/qualified for the OTHer, NON “Top Commenter” Category of those who often contribute their input and opinions to CapFax, “just” gotta say: thanks for making my day…NOT!


  60. - SimonSez - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 7:29 pm:

    I voted to eliminate some of the “favorite” questions, but after reading comments I vote for sending them all with a request to respond to 10-15. Probably learn more about each candidate by seeing which questions they answer/omit.


  61. - Henry Clay - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 7:36 pm:

    I guess I am looking for meaty questions because I figure that they will avoid those like a hot rock. They will salivate and run for the fluff questions so I hate to see any on the menu that they can order from. I hate to give them “wiggle room” so they can use up valuable time as they pontificate on why Mrs. O’Leery’s cat got caught up in a tree.


  62. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 9:35 pm:

    What book(s) are you currently reading?


  63. - Wadeiea - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 9:45 pm:

    I would only ask 14 and 15 to the opposite party. Ask the Republicans who is their favorite democrat and ask the democrat who is his favorite republican.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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