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Poll: 53 percent say they’ve considered leaving Illinois in the past year

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A poll conducted July 3rd through August 15th of registered voters who weren’t asked all four candidates’ names has precisely zero value when discussing the September 26th campaign climate. Some of those results are almost three months old, for crying out loud. So, we’re skipping the Illinois Issues Survey’s campaign results. They never should’ve even bothered to release them.

Instead, let’s look at the issues that were polled. Not a lot of surprises here

• Term limits popular
Eight in ten (80%) of those surveyed support legislative term limits compared to just 14% who oppose them. Democratic respondents are only slightly less likely to support limits (77%) than Republicans (85%) or independents (84%).

• Many think Illinois is on the wrong track, nearly half say state is doing about the same as last year
Nearly Three-quarters (74%) of respondents think Illinois is off on the wrong track compared to 14% who say it is headed in the right direction and 11% who can’t say. But not as many respondents think things are worse now than one year ago; nearly half (47%) say that the state is doing about the same as last year while 37% say it is getting worse and 13% say the state is doing better than one year ago.

• Half say they have considered leaving, youngest most likely to say so
When asked if they have considered leaving the state in the past year, just over half (53%) of those surveyed say “yes.” Those between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely (67%) to say so than those 35 or older (51%).

• A majority favor a graduated income tax
Overall, 57% of survey respondents say they favor a proposed graduated income tax in which those with higher incomes are taxed at a higher rate while 36% favor the current flat-rate tax system. Majorities of Democrats (69%) and independents (56%) favor graduated income tax whereas a minority of Republicans (41%) do.

• Most say immigrants help Illinois rather than hurt it
Over three times as many respondents say they believe immigrants help (63%) rather than hurt (20%) Illinois. Republicans (36%) are much less likely than Democrats (83%) or independents (62%) to say immigrants help Illinois.

* Some other items of note with highlights by me

• Respondents say funding higher education a priority as high cost and uncertainty of state funding drives high school grads away
Over three-quarters (76%) say that increasing state funding to public colleges and universities to keep the cost of tuition from growing is a “high priority.” Regarding high school graduates leaving the state, four in ten (40%) say the reason these individuals are doing this is because college in Illinois is too expensive while 37% say state funding to colleges is uncertain in Illinois. […]

• Respondents split on whether they trust others, the mass media Slightly fewer of those polled say they trust others (44%) than say you cannot be too careful in dealing with people (50%). The breakdown is similar regarding the media; about half (48%) of those surveyed say they trust the media either a “great deal” or a “fair amount” to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” and half (50%) say they have “not very much” trust or “none at all.” Democrats (67%) are much more likely than either independents (47%) or Republicans (27%) to say they trust the mass media. […]

When asked whether things in Illinois are heading in the right direction or off on the wrong track, nearly three- quarters (74%) say things are off on the wrong track, while only 14% think things are going in the right direction. […]

The survey also asks respondents whether they think that compared to one year ago, Illinois is getting better, is about the same, or is getting worse. The survey finds that most respondents think Illinois is about the same as it was last year (47%) or getting worse (37%), while a small minority (13%) think Illinois is doing better compared to one year ago.

That 14 percent “right track” and 13 percent “Illinois is doing better” are slim pickings, indeed.

And, by the way the college is too expensive and state funding is uncertain answers are basically the same thing.

* Back to the people who say they’ve thought of leaving

Because of the fact that the state of Illinois lost nearly 34,000 individuals from 2016 to 2017, the survey asked respondents about whether they have considered leaving the state.5 Overall, just over half (53%) of those surveyed report considering leaving in the past year and it is those who are younger who are most likely to say this. Survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to say they have considered leaving (67%) than those in other age cohorts. Those who are at least 65 years old, the typical age for retirement, are the least likely to say they have considered leaving (32%).

In addition to age, other factors — such as having more income — appear to play a role in whether respondents have considered leaving Illinois. While 46% of those with household income of less than $30,000 have considered leaving, nearly two-thirds (64%) of those earning between $60,000 and $100,000 and 59% of those with income of more than $100,000 have considered leaving the state. […]

Those who say they are considering leaving were asked to provide a “primary reason” for why they have considered doing so. Many respondents (39%) mention lower taxes as the primary reason, whereas 14% cite state government or politics, 15% cite better job opportunities and 7% say the primary reason they have considered leaving is lower crime. Additionally, some say better weather elsewhere (7%) or a family or personal reason (10%) is the primary reason they’ve considered going elsewhere.

Lots more in there, so click here.


  1. - Archiesmom - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    We did leave Illinois in 2018. Politics was a big piece. The system is dysfunctional, which I readily admit, having been a part of it for almost 15 years. Weather is a gift, not a reason for leaving. And since we now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, taxes and housing prices sure weren’t an issue.

    There are a lot of terrific public servants in Illinois, and I loved working with them. But there are also a lot of grandstanding folks who are in it for ego and maybe cash either now or later. Public issues become subsumed by soundbites and maneuvering for advantage in the media. One thing I sure don’t miss - the nonstop political ads.

  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    Asking Illinoisans if They’ve thought about leaving is only half of the net migration problem, and will always overstate the “flight” problem. Especially among younger adults, eho are more mobile anyway. It’s too bad they couldn’t also measure people moving to Illinois.

  3. - HCMcB - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:47 pm:

    What’s always bothered me about the “considering leaving” stat is that it’s meaningless without context. Some percentage of people consider going (or actually go) elsewhere, no matter where they have been living. How does Illinois compare to whatever the average is?

  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:47 pm:

    Citing Rich in the post pertaining to Jim Edgar and the Schnorf Memorial. As Edgar left office…

    ===…the poll found that 51 percent of Illinoisans were satisfied with the state’s direction, compared to 10 percent who weren’t satisfied.

    Imagine that. Half the people liked the direction of the state. Now, compare that to a poll taken earlier this month…===

    These past 4 years… Rauner did NOT help in “right direction - wrong direction” things…

    But we’re gojbg back to Edgar to get positives people felt about Illinois?


  5. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:51 pm:

    Ah, San Francisco, with its famous politics-free reputation.

  6. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    More progressive policies would likely be favorable to most millennials: marijuana legalization, a fair tax, minimum wage hike, etc.

    Polling for progressive taxation suggests if a CA could get passed and a good campaign is waged, there’s a very good chance voters would make it happen. Of course the biggest obstacle is the GA, specifically the House, where even a Democratic supermajority couldn’t get it done. That obstacle is practically insurmountable, but tax unfairness in this state is a fundamental problem that we should try to fix.

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:53 pm:

    –Republicans (36%) are much less likely than Democrats (83%) or independents (62%) to say immigrants help Illinois.–

    That explains a lot.

    Who knew so many Illinois Republicans were Saux and Fox?

  8. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 12:55 pm:

    In 1999,our property tax bill was right at $4900. Today, it stands at $8905. My friends who have left Illinois have gone for two reasons. Weather or property taxes.

  9. - Jibba - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    People making over $100K are less likely to consider leaving Illinois than the middle class making under $100K. I guess more wealthy people know the value of a flat tax.

  10. - northshore cynic - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:12 pm:

    The real question is whether you intend to pay Illinois taxes. I am amazed but not surprised at how many Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin license plates are parked at homes in Winnetka, Highland Park, and Lake Forest.

    I am certain they all belong to visiting relatives.

  11. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:25 pm:

    People making over $100K are less likely to consider leaving Illinois than the middle class making under $100K. I guess more wealthy people know the value of a flat tax.

    Going to go out on a limb here and say it is quite likely those folks are retired and keep homes here. Doubt most people who have out of state license plates are not paying income in Illinois unless of course, they don’t have to.

    Heck man, a house worth about the same as mine in Gatlinburg, Tennessee pays in total property taxes about what my line item is for Aurora Pensions.

    My guess is if you drive around non-wealthy suburbs you may find less out of state license plates since those folks realize when they retire they can save 7K or more or property taxes every year.

  12. - Stark - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:29 pm:

    As a young adult, I left after school finished up a couple years ago. I don’t plan on ever moving back because it’s abundantly obvious the existing government has no interest in investing in people like me. IL wants me to pay a ridiculous flat tax rate that is the same as that of JB Pritzker and Bruce Rauner, IL starves our state university choices of critical funding, IL will attempt to balance the pension problem it created on the backs of people like myself, and the state refuses to fund K-12 education (progressive tax tho) to the point that the property taxes are cripplingly cost-prohibitive. And a Republican Governor? Icing on the cake for me to permanently stay away.

  13. - Downstate - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:35 pm:

    If you make over $500k/year and Illinois implements an 11% income tax, you can spend over $50k/year in another state and be money ahead. It gets even more dramatic when you add rising property taxes into the mix.

  14. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:36 pm:

    –I am amazed but not surprised at how many Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin license plates are parked at homes in Winnetka, Highland Park, and Lake Forest.–

    What are you, a burglar?

  15. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    Grandson of Man - I agree on the politics and support a progressive tax to a point: lots of California millionaires are willing to pay a huge premium to live there. I dunno if Illinois’ 1% are so wedded, especially when you can live in a neighboring state and still be in the Chicago metro area.

  16. - Jibba - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    Republicans are slightly more likely to have considered leaving than Democrats, suggesting a small political effect in a strongly blue state. However, independents are much more likely than all others to have considered leaving. This is indicting of the 2 parties, which both gerrymander, pander, nepotize, and push a social agenda equally, based on their past practices when in power. Honest government would be a powerful political force, if either party or a third party would embrace it.

  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    Whenever there’s a foot of snow on the ground, and I’m waiting for the bus in 5º weather, I “consider” moving.
    Then I think about what I’d miss, and I put on boots and a warmer coat and am happy.

  18. - Suburban Mom - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:52 pm:

    “When asked if they have considered leaving the state in the past year, just over half (53%) of those surveyed say “yes.” ”

    I’d be very curious to see these results nationwide, broken out by age cohort, etc., and be able to compare them state-by-state. 53% doesn’t seem that high to me, at least in isolation. 100% my friends in California consider leaving it every DAY because of the property prices, but in general most of them end up staying because of the jobs. Similarly I went to law school in the South and a lot of my friends from that time consider leaving the South quite frequently because of the various malaises of state governments down there, but they end up staying because they like living there more than they hate the problems.

  19. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:53 pm:

    ==People making over $100K are less likely to consider leaving Illinois than the middle class making under $100K. I guess more wealthy people know the value of a flat tax.==

    Or it’s harder to match or beat that higher income level elsewhere. Or by the time they’re making that much, they’re entrenched in family life.

  20. - Bye bye - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 1:57 pm:

    I’m going to leave as soon as comfortably possible. The taxes are too high, the quality of services are poor. To pay back the unfunded pension deficit (created mainly by Jim Thompson), each household will have to pay an additional $1,700/yr for 30 yrs. I’m not doing that, paying too much for utilities, paying for in-house water filtration because my water is polluted, and paying for private schools.

  21. - Downstate - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    Remember when the founder of Jimmy Johns was threatening to leave? Lots of people piped up “good riddance”. That response was noted by many.

    And here’s the real downside. I’m seeing high net worth individuals moving with younger children (age 17-7) to other states. When those children come into their inheritance, they won’t have any ties to Illinois. Hence, they won’t be inclined to invest or live in this state. While departing job-creators are a near term issue, the future high net worth generations without ties to this state, are as significant.

  22. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    “I dunno if Illinois’ 1% are so wedded, especially when you can live in a neighboring state and still be in the Chicago metro area.”

    Leaving Illinois because of a progressive state income tax to go to a neighboring state with…a progressive state income tax.

  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    Already left to Michigan.

    6% sales tax, no sales tax on groceries. 4.25% flat income tax. Property taxes that are 1/2 to 1/3 compared to dupage/will county in Oakland/Macomb counties which have superb schools.

    Oh and no toll roads.

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    Jibba nails it. With kids approaching college age, they are being encouraged to flee this state’s toxic political culture. Neither major party here has any credibility in laying any claim to honest and well-managed government. Both of them live in the clearest of glass houses and throw the biggest of stones.

    I want my kids to live in states where the common good is put above the maintaining a grip on power and the good of party insiders and the political class. Unless something changes drastically, the last 200 years giving me little confidence, that place sure isn’t Illinois.

  25. - Stark - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:31 pm:

    Moving to a state with a higher statutory tax rate to own the Illinois libs and high tax Illinois. /s

  26. - Mover - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    Lots of weird snark in these comments. Obviously it’s not just whether other states already have a progressive income tax or relatively high property taxes. It’s the services you get for those taxes and the predictability. When the total tax burden for high income Illinois/Chicago residents doubles (or more) in the coming years, it will be just to tread water … it won’t be to pave twice as many roads or rebuild twice as many schools. And who knows when the increases will hit for all the various looming crises at the City, Sister Agencies, County, and State levels. In that context, Wisconsin’s fully funded pension system gives a lot of comfort even if you know going in that your taxes will be higher (for now).

  27. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Wisconsin’s tax burden is already lower than Illinois and if JB gets elected the difference will increase further

  28. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 2:54 pm:

    I’m stunned weather isn’t higher; that’s why I want to bolt. If you can live anywhere in the internet age, why not pick someplace temperate?

  29. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    I’m sure higher taxes on nearly everyvone will make Illinois residents very happy. Illinois likes Mike Madigan so much.. he’ll be Speaker as long as he wants.

  30. - Stones - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    My wife and I moved to Florida a couple of years ago. We were early - mid 50’s, both long time 30 year+ state employees. Got tired of attacks by Governors Quinn and Rauner on our hard earned pensions. Both of us were stagnant wage wise for the past 5+ years. With no budget and nor any money for a modest increase even if there were a budget we felt we were spinning our wheels. Our property taxes are now 40% compared to Illinois with a comparable value of property. Additionally our weather is fantastic year round. Honestly, had we felt we were making forward progress and not under attack as employees we could have put in a few more years in Illinois - maybe even maintained a residence there. Looking back we absolutely made the correct decision.

  31. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    I think about leaving starting in January every year. Then St. Patrick’s Day/ Week/Month rolls around and I know I can never leave Chicagland.

  32. - SSL - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 4:22 pm:

    I’m with Mover at 2:48. It isn’t only about high taxes, it’s what services are delivered for those taxes. We all know taxes have to increase significantly to address the horrible governmental mismanagement that has occurred over several decades. But people have to ask themselves, do I want to stick around and pony up for the sins of others? And watch Illinois decay further while I pay more.

    A percentage of those that can leave will. What percentage is the big question.

  33. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    Wonder what “considered” meant. Complain when shoveling snow? Called a realtor? Put down a deposit? Did a long term rental?
    And why do the pollsters never ask “where” so readers could know if the numbskuls who “consider” are goin’ somewhere with lower taxes, smoother roads, better schools, etc

  34. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 4:28 pm:

    ==Wisconsin’s tax burden is already lower than Illinois and if JB gets elected the difference will increase further==

    But it’s not that much lower. The big difference is Wisconsin has one of the best funded pension systems in the country. That means they can spend more on current services instead of paying off old debts.

  35. - Smitty Irving - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 6:22 pm:

    As an immigrant from a much better climate, the only reason I’ve considered leaving is “State Fair Weather” / “Below zero before wind chill weather” … . The Metro East realtors produced a study showing the tax burden in Metro East is equal to MO St. Louis that even the BND Editorial Board accepted (MO local personal property taxes on cars, for example). KY may have a lower state tax burden, but people in Louisville pay more to register cars than Chicago residents.

  36. - Gooner - Wednesday, Sep 26, 18 @ 8:51 pm:

    The “considering leaving” thing probably gives a lot of false positives.

    I’ve thought about leaving for Paris or Crete, but how likely am I to actually do either? Not very.

    Still, on tough days I have Googled “jobs for American lawyers in Paris” or “Exporting olives from Crete.”

  37. - Bill - Tuesday, Oct 2, 18 @ 4:28 am:

    Left for Texas in June - best decision I ever made. Zero income tax, no taxes on food. I’m paying $2.70 per gallon on premium gas. Plus, a $30k bump in pay in the tech hub of Austin. Property taxes, while not low, are on par with the collar counties of Chicago. And, the weather and scenery are amazing. But, don’t come here if you’re going to vote in more dems :)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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