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Illinoisans want Statehouse peace, doubt it’ll happen

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

A solid majority of Illinoisans wants newly inaugurated Gov. Bruce Rauner to find common ground with the Democratic legislative majority rather than be confrontational, a new poll finds. However, most aren’t confident that the state’s leaders can avoid gridlock and a majority believes the Democrats will be to blame.

“Do you think Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner should try to solve the state’s problems by working to find common ground with the Democratic-controlled legislature, or should he take a more confrontational approach with the Democrats in trying to solve this state’s many problems?” 1,026 registered voters were asked by We Ask America on January 15th.

An overwhelming 67 percent said they want Rauner to find common ground, while 22 percent said he should take a more confrontational approach. Another 6 percent said he should do both and 5 percent were unsure.

An almost unanimous 84 percent of Democrats and a strong 63 percent of independents wanted him to find common ground, while 76 percent of African-Americans and 67 percent of whites said the same.

Every demographic favored the common ground approach, although only a 49 percent plurality of Republicans did so, as opposed to 36 percent who wanted a more confrontational approach from the newly inaugurated GOP governor.

Next question: “Now we would like to know how confident you are that Gov. Rauner can avoid gridlock with the Democratic controlled House and Senate.”

Considering Illinois’ sorry history and the gridlock caused by divided government in our nation’s capital, just 31 percent of Illinoisans were confident that gridlock cold be avoided, while 54 percent said they were not confident. The most “confident” group was Republicans, but even they were outnumbered 46-39 by Republicans who said they weren’t confident.

I think you might get a higher confidence level for compromise at the Statehouse, particularly among folks who have experienced progress under divided government in the past. Divided government rarely accomplishes sweeping changes, mainly because the parties are at odds on some issues, particularly social issues. But, so far at least, Springfield has a much better track record than Washington, DC, which has a structural bias toward do-nothingness.

“Finally, if Illinois government gets mired in gridlock, who do you think will likely be the cause of the gridlock?” the pollster asked.

A 52 percent majority pointed their collective finger at the Democrats, while just 20 percent figured the Republican governor would be the cause and another 20 percent said “all of them.”

More specifically, 30 percent said they thought House Speaker Michael Madigan would be to blame, 3 percent said Senate President John Cullerton would likely be the problem and 19 percent said it would be Madigan and Cullerton together.

Even a 42 percent plurality of Democrats said their own party leaders would be to blame if the state crashes into the gridlock wall. The poll had a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

Meanwhile, a poll conducted by We Ask America on January 14th had Gov. Rauner’s approval rating at 52 percent, with just 23 percent disapproving. Speaker Madigan’s numbers were almost the exact reverse, with 26 percent approving versus 55 percent disapproving.

And that’s not the only Democratic deficit.

The Democratic legislative leaders spent down their reserves during last year’s campaign, and ended 2014 with a combined total of $2.8 million in their respective campaign bank accounts.

Normally, that wouldn’t be too bad. But not after Gov. Rauner dumped $20 million into his campaign coffers before the year ended. That gives him an advantage of better than 7-1.

Rauner has said he will use the money to communicate his message with voters and support his legislative allies. But lots of Springfield folks are wondering who’s going to get whacked by that cash mountain.

And for the first time in memory, the Illinois Republican Party ended a year with more than twice as much cash on hand than Madigan’s Democratic Party of Illinois: $566K for the ILGOP and $215K for DPI. That advantage is mostly due to contributions from Rauner himself.

If you were wondering why people like me believe Speaker Madigan will hold his fire for quite a while, all you have to do is look at the results from the above two polls and that cash disadvantage. Speaker Madigan knows he and his party will be the fall guy in any war. Rauner will have to take the first shot - and maybe the second and third.

And Madigan had better go out there and raise some more money.

Subscribers have full crosstabs.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 8:31 am:

    Who will get whacked by the cash mountain is the $20 million (for starters) question.

    The answer will put some substance to all the speculation as to how the new guy plans to run his railroad.

    Tracking expenditures out of that fund will be the latest craze among Illinois political types.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 8:44 am:

    Governing is a “We” thing, not a “Me” thing. Voters know that. Voters expect that.

    The rub will be HOW that “We” thing is done.

    Rauner primaring sitting GOP members who don’t vote “Rauner”?

    Rauner protecting Democrats from GOP campaigns because they vote “Rauner”?

    The GOP Caucuses are now far less autonomous. That make partisanship could become ugly within fractured Caucuses, and how the political arms of those Caucuses go about their business.

    Maybe it comes down to Rauner’s definition of “We” governing(?)

  3. - jimlion - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 8:57 am:

    ” 3 percent said Senate President John Cullerton would likely be the problem”
    This is because only 6% of voters know who John Cullerton is.

  4. - qcexaminer - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 9:27 am:

    I love these “let’s you and him fight” type articles in the press—so original and useful to the general public.

    As for “gridlock”, little is said about how during the 12 years the Dems controlled all levers of power, even Democrats couldn’t find “common ground” with other Democrats. lol

    But hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative.

  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 9:31 am:

    ===As for “gridlock”, little is said about how===

    You must’ve just fallen off the turnip truck.

    Seriously, “little is said”? Have you been blind and deaf for 12 years?

  6. - A guy - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 9:46 am:

    There’s more incentive to work together now than at any time in recent memory. Oddly, even Quinn’s less than gracious exit has created some consensus of opinion. Fiscal agreements may be a little easier to come by than usual. Let’s hope.

  7. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 9:46 am:

    QC, try not to use “little is said” or “no one is talking about” to advance your point. It’s rarely true, and you just come off as a whiny victim.

  8. - qcexaminer - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 10:02 am:

    We must be reading different sources of information, since I don’t recall much conversation or polling about “gridlock” after Quinn was elected, but whatever—I do acknowledge that The CapFax Crew is on top of it. lol

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 10:04 am:

    === I don’t recall much conversation or polling about “gridlock” after Quinn was elected===

    It was only about every day. I can see how you missed it.

    Just off the top of my head, I can remember polling the paycheck issue. There were others. And there were constant posts about PQ’s difficulties with his own party.

    So, bite me.

  10. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 10:08 am:


    Are you having fun playing the victim? How’s all of the whining working out for you?

  11. - A guy - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    The mood has been set. lol

  12. - qcexaminer - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    Word, have no idea how “whiny victim” applies here except I know you use it often when you have nothing intelligent to say and want to cut off discussion.

    I was mocking the “let’s you and him fight” narrative in media, which is why I guess you got so defensive and why I got the juvenile rejoinder of “bite me” from Miller.

    As I said above, this was a topic of conversation here, but statewide, not so much, at least in my view.

    I do realize that diversity of viewpoint is not encouraged here. lol

  13. - bored now - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 11:43 am:

    i first thought i was reading a national headline…

  14. - Federalist - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    “Do you think Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner should try to solve the state’s problems by working to find common ground with the Democratic-controlled legislature, or should he take a more confrontational approach with the Democrats in trying to solve this state’s many problems?”

    A loaded question in itself, Why not ask it the other way around or a least pose a more neutral question such as “Do you think the Governor and the General Assembly should work together to solve the states’ problems.

    Who reviews these poll questions before they are asked or is everybody these days so ideologically biased that they can’t see the stupidity of their poll.

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 12:12 pm:

    ===A loaded question in itself===


    He’s in the big seat now. Stop being a victim.

  16. - Ginhouse Tommy - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 12:41 pm:

    The people who are relentlessly bashing Rauner is that they need to grow up. He won. Deal with it. He is in the big seat now and the honeymoon’s over. He will find out shortly that this state is not his personal fiefdom to do as he pleases. He will find that some of his wonderful plans won’t fly. He indeed may have to do what he has seldom done. Compromise. His education as a state exec. is just being and he has a lot to learn. And unlike Madigan, I think that he will sensitive about bad press.

  17. - Federalist - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 1:10 pm:

    Please Rich, you know these type of loaded questions. You have been around long enough.

    And by the way I voted for Quinn and have been very critical of Rauner- including posts on this site.

    So Stop trying to pin the victim label on someone who has some objectivity that you seem to sorely lack.

    LOL (does not apply but you seem to like it a lot when it is inappropriate.)

  18. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 20, 15 @ 1:22 pm:

    ==So Stop trying to pin the victim label on someone who has some objectivity that you seem to sorely lack.==

    This thread has become the magnet for all of the victims out there today I see.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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