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Simon Poll: Pritzker job approval +2, Trump -20, Durbin +10, Cullerton -11, Madigan -51

Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019

* The recent We Ask America poll had Gov. Pritzker at +1 on job approval (37-36 ). The Simon Poll has him +2 (40-38). WAA had President Trump at -15 (41-56), the Simon Poll has him -20 (39-59)…

Illinois’ highest elected officials received mixed job-performance reviews in the poll just released from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Simon PollTM was based on a statewide sample of 1,000 registered voters conducted March 11 through March 17. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

The voters were asked whether they approved or disapproved of the jobs being done by Governor J. B. Pritzker, President Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton.

This was an early test for Governor Pritzker, who just took office in mid-January. Since then the governor has introduced his first budget and embarked on an ambitious plan to deal with the state’s long-term structural deficit. His plan has involved high-profile advocacy for a constitutional amendment that would shift Illinois’ income tax from a flat rate to a graduated rate.

Two months into his new administration, Simon Poll respondents gave Governor Pritzker a 40 percent positive job rating, while 38 percent disapproved, a narrow two-percentage-point positive net. This included 10 percent who strongly approved and 30 percent who somewhat approved, and 14 percent who somewhat disapproved and 24 percent who strongly disapproved. Another 7 percent said they neither approved nor disapproved, and 15 percent had no opinion.

For comparison, at the same point in Bruce Rauner’s term, the March 2015 Simon PollTM showed Governor Rauner at 37 approval vs. 31 percent disapproval, with one-third, or 32, percent who had not decided or had no opinion at that point.

Not surprisingly, Pritzker’s ratings varied significantly according to the voters’ place of residence and partisan affiliation. Fifty percent of voters from the City of Chicago approved of the governor’s job performance, while only 28 percent disapproved. Forty percent of the voters from suburban Cook and the Collar Counties approved and 36 percent disapproved. Downstate, 34 percent approved and 50 percent disapproved.

By party, 65 percent of Democrats endorsed Pritzker’s job performance, while only 12 percent disapproved. Seventy percent of Republicans disapproved of Pritzker’s performance, and 15 percent approved. Independents fell in-between, with 31 percent approving and 41 percent disapproving.

“These partisan and geographic differences in Illinois reflect the deep polarization that exists in the nation, and it shows no signs of getting any better” said John S. Jackson, one of the co-directors of the Simon Poll. “At this point Governor Pritzker is 2 percent above water, so he can go either way depending on how he is perceived to be handling the office of the governor and dealing with the enduring budgetary problems that have faced the state for a generation,” Jackson added.

President Trump’s job approval was 39 percent positive and 59 percent negative — net of 20 points underwater in Illinois. This consisted of 49 percent who strongly disapprove and 10 percent who somewhat disapprove of the president’s performance.

Partisan and geographic differences are on stark display in the varying results for the president. Ninety-three percent of Democrats disapproved and only 6 percent approved of the job Trump is doing as president; 83 percent of Republicans approved and only 16 percent disapproved. Independents were in between, with 35 approval and 60 percent disapproval.

Three quarters (76 percent) of the voters in the City of Chicago disapproved of Trump’s performance and 24 percent approved. In the suburbs, 39 percent approved and 60 percent disapproved. This left downstate as the only region where the president’s approval ratings were not in a net negative range, with 50 percent who approved and 46 percent disapproved.

“Illinois exhibits its own version of the blue-state/red-state divide,” said Charlie Leonard, a co-director of the Simon Poll. “Urban Chicago and its suburbs decidedly disapprove of President Trump, while in the more Republican, less densely populated “red” part of the state, he is about as popular as in a traditionally Republican state like Indiana or Nebraska.”

U. S. Senator Dick Durbin is up for re-election next year and the poll tested his beginning point as he launches a new campaign. The results showed Senator Durbin with a 51 percent approval rating, compared to 41 percent disapproval, 8 percent who either didn’t know or had no opinion.

Sixty-five percent of voters in the City of Chicago approved of the job Durbin is doing, while 29 percent disapproved. In suburban Cook and the Collar Counties, 51 percent approved and 41 percent disapproved, exactly matching the statewide results. Downstate the margins were 42 percent who approved and 48 percent who disapproved.

Durbin fared very well among his fellow Democrats with the results showing that 78 percent approved and 15 percent disapproved of the job he was doing. Republicans gave a 74 percent disapproval to 21 percent approval rating. Fifty-one percent of Independents approved and 41 percent disapproved, again exactly matching the statewide results.

Turning to state legislative leaders, the poll asked about the job performance of Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

Fully 71 percent of voters statewide said they disapproved of Madigan’s job performance, while only 20 percent approved, with 10 percent undecided or neither.

City of Chicago voters gave Madigan a 26 percent approval to 66 percent disapproval rating. Suburban Cook and the Collar Counties gave him a 19 percent approve and 72 percent disapprove rating. Downstate voters were almost identical with the suburban voters with 71 percent disapproving and 19 percent approving.

Thirty-four percent of Democratic voters approved and 55 percent disapproved of the Speaker’s job performance. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans disapproved and only 8 percent approved, while Independents showed a 10 percent approval and 78 percent disapproval rating.

The Speaker has long been a high-profile target for Republican attack ads in a variety of campaigns. In the campaigns for governor and in many state house and senate races in November of 2018, Republican candidates from Governor Rauner through state representative races and some local races focused on Madigan. His job approval vs. disapproval ratings show those results as well as his many years as perhaps the most highly recognizable Democrat in Illinois.

By contrast, Senate President John Cullerton keeps a much lower profile and the results show in contrast with the Speaker. Senator Cullerton’s approval ratings were 24 percent approve and 35 percent disapprove, with 6 percent who said neither and more than one-third, 35 percent, who said they did not know enough to rate him.

There were virtually no regional differences on Cullerton’s job approval ratings. By party, the differences were only marginal. Thirty-five percent of the Democrats said they approved of Cullerton’s job performance with 23 percent who disapproved. Forty-eight percent of Republicans said they disapproved and 15 percent approved. This left 37 percent of the Democrats and 36 percent of the Independents saying they did not know enough to rate him with 29 percent of the Republicans who did not want to provide a rating.

Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, John Shaw, summarized the findings as follows, “Illinois remains a strikingly divided and polarized state. By and large, Illinoisans view their political leaders through profoundly partisan lenses.”

You’d think Pritzker would have a honeymoon period, but nope. Lots of folks are reverting to party or withholding judgment.

And Trump at -21 in the suburbs has got to be giving legislative Republicans serious heartburn. Next year will be a fully nationalized election. And Durbin has to be happy (as long as he avoids a serious primary from his left).

And -51? Holy moly.

Crosstabs are here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

41 Comments
  1. - Dome Gnome - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    I would have pegged Cullerton much higher.


  2. - Facts - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Let’s not forget the tens of millions of dollars spent over the past 4 years to demonize Madigan and bring his approval down. Compare that with the zero dollars spent to rehabilitate his image. I’m shocked it’s not lower.


  3. - Bourbon Street - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:51 am:

    I wonder how many of the poll respondents understand what the job of Speaker of the House entails.


  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    ===poll respondents understand===

    That’s not totally on them.


  5. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    Madigan would probably take easily winning his district and a House supermajority-plus over better popularity numbers.

    It’s so funny that Rauner and right wingers got politically whupped after constantly attacking someone with Madigan’s popularity numbers. It really is hysterical.


  6. - SSL - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    For JB, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. There’s a lot more one could say about that, but why go there.

    As for Madigan, any dollars available to the GOP should be to hammer the lack of trust issue and directly tie it to the Speaker. The 60% needed for the CA looks a little more challenging given these numbers.


  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    Peraica and Blair Hull should persuade Trump to resign and challenge Madigan in the 22 next year.

    Tell him it would be the yoogest and bigliest race of all time.


  8. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    Polarized but lovin’ the Ds


  9. - Flat Bed Ford - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    =And Durbin has to be happy (as long as he avoids a serious primary from his left).=

    Stava-Murray isn’t a serious challenge? Someone should tell her.


  10. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:06 am:

    Madigan, better to be feared than liked.


  11. - MG85 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    ==Two months into his new administration, Simon Poll respondents gave Governor Pritzker a 40 percent positive job rating… Another 7 percent said they neither approved nor disapproved, and 15 percent had no opinion.==

    I read this as a positive start for JB and as a perfect opportunity to really run up the score. A 40% base is a great place to start and that 22% is an opportunity to grow. In four years, he could be looking at a 62% job approval rating all the way down to 60% disapproval rating. How he governs and what he accomplishes controls where he falls on that scale.

    ==By party, 65 percent of Democrats endorsed Pritzker’s job performance, while only 12 percent disapproved.==

    That 12% are those who haven’t gotten a call back for a job. JB does need to do a better job of reaching out to those supporters who have felt a cold shoulder since Adam Levine came to town. Just because you can’t offer a job doesn’t mean you cant offer inclusiveness.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    ===Stava-Murray isn’t a serious challenge? Someone should tell her===

    She’s not a serious challenge. She’s not a serious anything.


  13. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    They should have done a poll to see Madigan’s numbers in his district. Oh wait, they did one of those in November and he did okay.


  14. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Santa Claus would be -51 with that much advertising spent against him.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    To the Post,

    I think the reason Pritzker isn’t getting much of a honeymoon goes along with “governors own”

    They ran Skyhook, in reverse. Now, voters are looking to hold accountable the new owner of governing, fairly or not.

    It will be (should be) the administration’s goal to go and tour the state, barnstorm, and tout accomplishments while saying too “we’re just getting started”.

    I’m not shocked by the Pritzker numbers at all. Nope.

    The numbers reflect a winning campaign that saturated so well, ownership of the job and accountability are superseding the usual honeymoon.


  16. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    Is anyone keeping track of how many times attacks on Madigan failed? Would this be, Attack Madigan 5.something?


  17. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    Before Rauner?

    Madigan and HDems… 71… with Drury, Dunkin, and Franks.

    After Rauner?

    Madigan and HDems… 74… Drury, Dunkin, and Franks are history.

    I think Madigan… “He’ll be fine”


  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    =That’s not totally on them=

    You are correct, Rich, and I didn’t mean to sound critical of the poll respondents. The point I was trying to make (I was misquoted! /s) is that I think Madigan’s poll numbers would be higher if people actually understood what the work of the Speaker entails.


  19. - Steve - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    The Madigan number is pretty irrelevant . He doesn’t run statewide . He’s popular in his district , that’s all that matters. Rightly or wrongly.


  20. - Bourbon Street - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    Rich, I sent a post in the last few minutes without adding my name.


  21. - anon2 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    Trump will likely be at the top of the GOP ticket. Given his unpopularity in the Chicago area, that should worry any Chicago-area Republicans on the same ballot. Why would any Republican bother to run in Chicago, given the huuuuge anchor at the top of the ticket?


  22. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    –I wonder how many of the poll respondents understand what the job of Speaker of the House entails.–

    Perhaps Madigan should have started his image campaign 30 years ago, rather than this year.


  23. - Blue Dogs are Blind, Deaf, and Dumb - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:04 pm:

    Let’s hope Durbin faces a serious primary to his left. He routinely votes for massive increases in the military budget at the same time he opposes Medicare for All or lifting a finger to make college and student loans affordable. This Senator has been way too complacent and a primary challenge should push him into supporting voters, not donors.


  24. - JB13 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    Pritzker’s future popularity will be directly tied to “97 percent.” If in 3 years, the majority of Illinoisans haven’t seen any meaningful tax relief, and we’re still going round about who’s to blame for the mess, JBP will be underwater with everyone but state workers and Planned Parenthood.


  25. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    The poll just emphasizes that JB didn’t win so much as Rauner lost. JB ran as “anyone but Rauner” which was a great strategy (no less great because it was simple), but it doesn’t help with the honeymoon period. Also, this last election was more hyper-focused on Congress and the Trump context than typical.


  26. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    -51
    Kripes
    It did make giggle thinking of Cold Miser. Madigan kinda looks like Cold Miser even.
    Rich has anyone else made that connection?
    Poor guy
    I do actually wonder how he insulates his self esteem from that.


  27. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    Why should Madigan care about anyone’s opinion who can’t vote for or against him?


  28. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    Wow, that Madigan guy is in for a rough go of it next time he runs statewide.


  29. - Same old - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:39 pm:

    It is amazing that election cycle after election cycle the Republicans use Madigan to try and defeat Democrats and to no avail. It is proven to be a failed strategy and yet they just keep using to their political demise.


  30. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    –The poll just emphasizes that JB didn’t win so much as Rauner lost.–

    That’s silly. Pritzker got nearly 2.5 million votes, the most by any gubernatorial candidate since the switch to the off-prez in 1978. No other gubernatorial candidate since then has broken two million.

    Rauner’s vote totals in 2018 (1.77 million) and 2014 (1.82 million) were pretty close.

    Turnout was way up for an off-prez election.


  31. - Steve - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    JB won big and has a decent approval number. In today’s Illinois, the only way a Republican could win statewide is if a Democrat had a huge disapproval rating.


  32. - Bruce (no not him) - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    I want to vote against Mike Madigan so bad… But I can never find him on my ballot. Oh, well. I guess I’ll just tell pollsters how bad he is.
    There, that makes me feel better.


  33. - DarkHorse - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Per Steve - if a Dem wins the White House in 2020, you could see Pritzker lose. The best assurance of a Pritzker RE-elect is a Trump RE-elect.


  34. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    Durbin is a good senator. We dont need a left wing looney.


  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    I think Pritzker would improve his favorable if he started discussing controlling the state’s out of control spending. It can’t be all tax increases.


  36. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    Wow… would have figured that MJM’s disapproval would be closer to Trump’s. Not double….


  37. - Froganon - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 4:41 pm:

    Also hoping Durbin gets a challenge from the left. He needs to get on board with his people and on the Green New Deal and military spending. Re: Madigan: He may be a “difficult person” but he’s our “difficult person”. He stood against RAuner and came out stronger.


  38. - Whatever - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 5:39 pm:

    ==The Madigan number is pretty irrelevant . He doesn’t run statewide . He’s popular in his district , that’s all that matters. Rightly or wrongly. ==

    It matters a lot if other Dems (especially House Dems) see his numbers as a drag on their chances of winning, including against primary challengers in safe Democratic districts.


  39. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 6:08 pm:

    –It matters a lot if other Dems (especially House Dems) see his numbers as a drag on their chances of winning, including against primary challengers in safe Democratic districts.–

    Shouldn’t that have happened by now? The House Dem caucus is bigger than ever.


  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 20, 19 @ 10:21 pm:

    Is McSweeney going to run against Durbin?

    He spends a lot of time on the Downstate rubber-chicken circuit.


  41. - McGuppin - Thursday, Mar 21, 19 @ 6:33 am:

    McSweeney…. Durbin couldn’t get that lucky, could he??


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