Illinois voters are divided on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s performance over the last year, that’s according to a poll released Thursday by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. The poll has 50 percent of Illinois respondents disapproving of Rauner’s performance over the last year; 41 percent approve and 7 percent were undecided. David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Policy Institute, says those numbers show a significant increase compared to 2015 numbers. “A year ago when he first took office, people in Illinois were split about a third, a third, and a third, so his disapproval rating has gone up but so has his approval rating,” Yepsen said. He attributes the latest numbers to increased discussions about Rauner.
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“We live in difficult times and he’s having to make controversial decisions,” Yepsen said. “Some people agree with him, some people don’t agree with him, but everybody has an opinion about Bruce Rauner.” Meanwhile the poll indicates 84 percent of Illinois voters think the state is headed in the wrong direction. According to Yepsen, the budget stalemate, issues with Chicago public schools, and race relations in Chicago were contributing factors in the overwhelming concerns for respondents. “These are very difficult times for Illinois, and I think it shows up in the poll in people saying they really think 84 percent think Illinois is headed in the wrong track,” Yepsen said. Additionally, the Simon Poll found 63 percent of respondents thought the country as a whole was headed in the wrong direction, while 29 percent felt the nation was on the right path. In the poll, 32 percent of respondents said someone in their family is affected by the state’s budget impasse while 62 percent say they haven’t felt the effects.