Illinoisans would like to see term limits set for lawmakers in Springfield, according to new polling data released this week.
"If organizers are able to get the measure on the ballot -- and it’s not clear the courts will allow that -- it should be easy for them to win approval," said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute of Southern Illinois University, which conducted the poll.
The poll of 1001 registered voters, conducted Feb. 12 through Feb. 25, asked two questions:
- "Would you favor or oppose a proposal to limit state legislators to a total of eight years of service, whether in the House of Representatives , the State Senate, or a combination of the two?"
Most respondents -- 61.7 percent -- said they would strongly favor such a move. Another 17.8 percent said they would strongly favor. Just 8.5 percent and 8.6 percent said they would somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a move to institute term limits. Another 3.4 percent of respondents said they didn't know.
- "Would you favor or oppose a proposal to limit how long state legislators could serve in leadership roles – such as Speaker of the House or President of the Senate – before they stepped down to let other legislators lead?"
On that question, a 65.1 percent of those surveyed said they would strongly favor the move. Another 17.6 percent they would somewhat favor term limits. Against the proposal were 8.3 percent who said they were somewhat opposed and 6.3 percent who said they were strongly opposed. Another 2.7 percent said they didn't know.
The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, the institute said.
The support for term limits revealed in the latest poll aren't surprising. Similar questions asked in previous polls by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute have had similar results. The institute said the wording of the latest poll reflected a proposal pushed by a group known as Term Limits and Reform, which is backed by Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner.
Rauner wants the questions put to voters on the same November ballot where his name will appear.
"This is about uniting all voters to transform Springfield, stop that culture of corruption," Rauner said in September after he rolled out the proposal. "If eight years was good enough for George Washington, it should be good enough for the politicians in Springfield."
Rauner's organization said in November it had half the signatures necessary.