More than 50 percent of southern Illinois voters disapprove of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s job performance, according to a new poll.
In a poll of 400 registered voters in the state’s 18 southernmost counties conducted by Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Institute of Public Policy, Rauner’s approval rating stands at 37.4 percent.
Considering Rauner carried some of these counties with 70 percent of the vote, professor John Jackson believes Rauner is taking a hit for his role in budget stalemate.
“Most everyone recognizes the name of (House Speaker) Mike Madigan, and certainly the governor and his people have tried to blame Madigan, and that will play, but it’s not going to be the entire story in southern Illinois,” Jackson said.
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What Jackson calls the most unexpected result from the poll may spell trouble for one of Rauner’s closest political allies, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Kirk’s approval rating does beat his disapproval number—30.4 percent to 22.9 percent—but 46.6 percent of respondents had no opinion of him.
Jackson says that’s strange for a U.S. Senator who has been in office for nearly five years, though it could also be interpreted as a positive that voters appear unconcerned by Kirk’s controversial comments over the past few months, such as when he referred to a colleague as “a bro with no ho.”
“I would expect that perhaps those gaffes and verbal miscues have faded from memory,” Jackson said, “but still, if you’re a United States Senator running for re-election, you want to be above 50 percent.”
Kirk’s Democratic counterpart, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), has an approval rating of 50.6 percent, with 33.5 percent disapproving.
Other results show discontent from voters on the direction of both the state and the nation. 78.8 percent said the country is on the wrong track, while 79.8 percent said the state is moving in the wrong direction. Jackson says that’s unusual, as similar polls in other states would usually result in voters being more optimistic about their own state than the nation as a whole.
50.9 percent said their city or local area was heading in the right direction.