Public opinion in Southern Illinois says don’t close state facilities there. On the chopping block are the Tamms Prison, the adult transition center in Carbondale, the Murphysboro Youth Center and the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. Opposing closing scored 70-80 percent in a Southern Illinois University poll in March, and sentiment is probably higher now, says SIU political science professor John Jackson, who ran the poll, even though residents insist that the state cut spending.
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“Whatever scholars like to think about cognitive dissonance, people don’t care about cognitive dissonance,” he said. “They’re quite capable of holding two incompatible values and views and not being at all bothered by them.” Jackson says his public opinion research over the years shows that the Southern Illinois population is resentful of state government, though the region depends on it more than elsewhere in the state. He says Sothern Illinois is not unique in this regard: Nationally, the states that get the most from the federal government have the most strident anti-government politicians. Nor is Southern Illinois unique in its suspicion of Chicago. Jackson says around the world, people in rural areas are suspicious of metropolitan cities. Jackson says distrust of Chicago has grown over the last 10-15 years in Southern Illinois.