Hopeful yet Discontent

Voters around the Midwest, and especially in Illinois, rank concerns with money in politics on par with concerns about schools, taxes, and the economy, according to a new survey. But rather than throw in the towel, voters also say they believe reform is possible and look to candidates to spell out how they will fix the system.

Honesty is the most important value Illinoisans want in state government, the survey found. And voters believe that these policy reforms are the path to re-instilling honesty in Illinois government:

* 73% of Illinois voters agreed (45% strongly, 28% somewhat) with the statement, “Unless we limit the influence of money in government, elected officials will not be able to keep their promises on issues that are important to people like me”

* 86% of Illinois voters believe that “public financing of campaigns which would give each candidate the same amount of money and limit spending by each candidate” would make a difference in making government work better, including 60% who think it would make a big difference and 26% who think it would make somewhat of a difference.

* 87% of Illinois voters believe that “requiring lobbyists to fully report their lobbying activities such as their clients, what issues they are working on, and the money they spend lobbying lawmakers” would make a difference in making government work better, including 61% who think this would make a big difference and 26% who think it would make somewhat of a difference.

*80% of Illinois voters believe that “changing the way legislative district lines are drawn so that it is easier for a candidate to run against current office holders and so new candidates from the community have a chance to win” would make a difference in making government work better, including 40% to think this would make a big difference and 40% who think it would make somewhat of a difference.

The survey was conducted in five Midwestern states, including Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. For details of the survey, including the press release, Illinois data, a survey summary and survey charts (all in pdf format), please visit our website.