Nearly two years into Illinois’ historic budget impasse, a majority of Illinois residents disapprove of the jobs being done by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, according to a new poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The poll asked whether respondents approved or disapproved of the job being done by the Governor and the four legislative leaders.
The Simon Poll was conducted Saturday, March 4th to Saturday, March 11th. The sample included 1,000 registered voters and a margin for error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Sixty percent of the interviews were conducted on cell phones.
Both political leaders are underwater with voters statewide. Roughly six in ten disapprove of the job being done by both Madigan (61 percent) and Rauner (58 percent). Last October’s Simon Poll showed Madigan’s disapproval rating at 63 percent and Rauner’s at 55 percent.
“Clearly, both political leaders are taking a beating with voters as the Statehouse stalemate nears the two-year mark, and the gap between the two is shrinking,” said Jak Tichenor, interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. “It’s not good news at all for either man, both of whose political fortunes are at risk heading into next year’s elections.” Rauner is seeking his second term in 2018 and Madigan will defend his 67-seat Democratic majority in the 118-member House after losing a net four seats last November.
“We have tested Gov. Rauner’s job approval four times since he took office, and two findings jump out at us,” said Charlie Leonard, a former visiting professor at the Institute, and one of the designers of the poll. “First is that the governor’s approval rating, since Spring of 2015, right after he assumed office, has remained relatively steady in the high 30s to low 40s, though at 36 percent it’s the lowest we have seen. Second is that his disapproval rating has grown consistently, from 31 disapproving in March 2015 to 58 percent today—almost doubling.
Statewide, Rauner’s results show 36 percent somewhat approve or strongly approve of his performance, while 58 percent somewhat disapprove or strongly disapprove. That compares with a 40 percent approval rating and 55-percent disapproval rating last October.
Rauner fares worst with voters in the City of Chicago, where 64 percent disapprove of his performance while 31 percent approve. Rauner edges closer to positive territory in downstate Illinois, where 38 percent approve of the job he’s doing compared to 56 percent who disapprove. In the suburbs of Cook and the collar counties, he remains in negative territory with 58 percent disapproving and 37 approving.
Speaker Madigan’s disapproval ratings also remain in negative territory with 61 percent somewhat disapproving or strongly disapproving and 26 percent somewhat approving or strongly approving. Madigan scored 63 percent disapproving overall last year with 26 percent approving.
Madigan’s best job approval ratings came in the City of Chicago, where 28 percent approve and 60 percent disapprove. His suburban Cook and collar counties job approval ratings are 27 percent approve to 60 percent disapprove. Downstate voters were least generous in their assessment of Madigan’s tenure with 64 percent disapproving and 23 percent approving.
Voters do not appear to have picked heavy favorites or shown a strong dislike for the remaining three legislative leaders. In the case of Senate President John Cullerton, 39 percent somewhat disapprove or strongly disapprove of his performance while 25 percent approve and 32 percent are not sure. Last fall, 41 percent disapproved, 26 percent approved, and 29 percent weren’t sure.
Voters were also less conclusive about the job performances of Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Leader Radogno’s job approval stands at 27 percent statewide, compared with a disapproval rating of 26 percent. An overwhelming 45 percent were not sure. In the case of Leader Durkin, 31 percent approved, 36 percent disapproved, and 29 percent were unsure. [Emphasis added.]
So, more Chicagoans approve of Rauner’s job performance than Madigan’s.
Let that sink in a bit.
* Either way, both of these guys are hugely unpopular. The toplines (click here) show that just 11 percent strongly approve of Gov. Rauner’s performance, while just 5 percent strongly approve of Madigan’s. Another 39 percent strongly disapprove of Rauner’s performance. Madigan’s strong disapprove number is 44 percent.
* Click here for the crosstabs. Only 27 percent of Republicans strongly approve of Rauner’s job performance (63 percent overall). But just 9 percent of Democrats strongly approve of Madigan’s performance (only 40 percent overall approve).
On the other hand, 14 percent of Republicans strongly disapprove of Rauner’s job performance and 31 percent overall disapprove, which is pretty high. But 27 percent of Democrats strongly disapprove of Madigan’s job performance while 47 percent overall disapprove, so he’s underwater with his own party.