Pritzker leads Rauner in UIS/NPR Illinois poll

SPRINGFIELD — A newly released survey conducted more than a month ago found that Democrat J.B. Pritzker was leading GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner 35 percent to 23 percent, with 15 percent saying they would vote for someone else.

The results of the University of Illinois at Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership and NPR Illinois also showed 23 percent of respondents could not name a governor preference, and 4 percent refused to answer. In the question about the governor’s race, Libertarian Party candidate Kash Jackson and Conservative Party candidate Sam McCann were not presented as choices.

Telephone researchers at UIS placed polling calls from July 3 to Aug. 15, with 717 registered voters interviewed. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

Given when the poll was done, some change could have occurred, said Matthew Case, research manager for the Center for State Policy and Leadership. But he said the results show that in the governor’s race, Democrats are “more energized” and “more likely to say they’re going to vote than Republicans right now.”

As for why researchers didn’t name McCann and Jackson in the poll, Case said “it’s certainly something that we would consider doing in the future.”

He also said the number of people who said they are likely to vote probably overestimates the percentage of people who will go to the polls, as registered voters were called and people who respond to such surveys “tend to be more civically engaged and vote at higher rates than the general public.”

Among issue questions, respondents were asked if Illinois is headed in the right direction, and 74 percent the state is on the wrong track, 14 percent said it is going in the right direction, and 11 percent said they couldn’t say.

In a related question, asked if Illinois is getting better or worse compared to a year ago, 13 percent said it’s getting better, 47 percent chose “about the same,” and 37 percent said it’s getting worse.

The tax structure of the state has been a continuing issue in the race for governor. Rauner wants Illinois to continue to have a flat-rate income tax, where people at all income levels pay the same, while Pritzker wants a constitutional amendment to bring on a graduated income tax, with higher rates for people with higher incomes. In the survey, 57 percent favored the graduated system, 36 percent favored the flat tax, with the rest not choosing or preferring something else.

Asked about party identification, 35 percent said they are Democrats, with 23 percent saying they are Republican and 30 percent saying they are independent. The rest said they identified with a different party or didn’t know.

Just over half of respondents — 53 percent — said they had considered leaving Illinois in the past year. That includes 67 percent of those 18-34, and 32 percent of those ages 65 and older.

On guns, 80 percent strongly favor and 8 percent somewhat favor requiring mental health background checks on all gun buyers. The idea was strongly opposed by 5 percent and somewhat opposed by 4 percent.

Asked which is more important, “the rights of citizens to own guns or protecting citizens from gun violence,” 29 percent chose gun ownership and 61 percent picked fighting gun violence.

And about protecting schools, 56 percent of respondents favor and 40 percent oppose placing armed guards in schools, while 36 percent favor and 61 percent oppose allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds.

Offering parents vouchers to send their children to any public or private school was considered a high priority by 50 percent, a low priority by 25 percent and “not a priority at all” by 21 percent.

About immigration in general, 63 percent said immigrants help Illinois and make it a better place to live, while 20 percent said immigrants hurt the state. And about allowing immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, 46 percent strongly favor and 17 percent somewhat favor allowing them to stay in the country. The idea is strongly opposed by 21 percent and somewhat opposed by 10 percent.

Legislative term limits also proved popular. They are supported by 80 percent and opposed by 14 percent.

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September 26, 2018 at 07:01PM

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