Illinois citizens on the budget

Much like Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, Illinois voters remain divided over how to fix the state’s budget problems, according to a new Paul Simon Institute poll.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters, conducted Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, found 44 percent of respondents said they favor budget cuts, 12 percent prefer tax increases and 33 percent want a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.

Voters also were asked whether the state’s budget impasse has personally affected their lives, to which 62 percent said the stalemate hasn’t, compared to 34 percent who said they were affected.

Dr. Linda Baker, a professor at the Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, said the findings show Illinoisans are aware that the budget crisis “is no longer an abstract question,” but instead a growing problem that is having a negative effect on the state’s ability to attract and retain both business and residents.


“One hopeful finding is the increased percentage of Illinoisans who see the solution as a mix of both budget cuts and increasing revenues,” Baker said. “Hopefully this can help spur policymakers on both sides of the aisle to consider a compromise that includes solutions offered by both parties.”

Among the voters who said the budget impasse was personally affecting their lives, 18 percent cited the gridlock in Springfield as the reason for losing or threatening their job. Another 15 percent perceived the stalemate to be the cause of cuts to social services, while 14 percent blamed it on cuts to K-12 education funding.

“I’m surprised more people aren’t feeling affected by this deadlock in Springfield. I thought the numbers of people impacted would be increasing as it wore on but it’s also true many people aren’t impacted by changes in government services,” said David Yepsen, director of the institute.

Here’s how the results break down by political party and region.

About the methodology:

The margin of error for the entire sample of 1,000 voters is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. This means that if we conducted the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances, the population proportion would be within plus or minus the reported margin for error for each subsample. For subsamples, the margin of error increases as the sample size goes down. The margin of error was not adjusted for design effects.

Live telephone interviews were conducted by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas using the random digit dialing method. The telephone sample was provided to Customer Research International by Scientific Telephone Samples. Potential interviewees were screened based on whether they were registered voters and quotas based on area code and sex (<60% female). Interviewers asked to speak to the youngest registered voter at home at the time of the call. Cell phone interviews accounted for 60 percent of the sample. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were made available.

Field work was conducted from September 27-October 2. No auto-dial or “robo” polling is included. Customer Research International reports no Illinois political clients. The survey was paid for with non-tax dollars from the Institute’s endowment fund. The data were not weighted in any way. Crosstabs for the referenced questions will be on the Institute’s polling web site,

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