A new poll shows that 50 percent of Illinois residents disapprove of Gov. Bruce Rauner's job performance as the state's governor.
The poll, which was conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, exemplifies a stark polarity amongst Illinois voters, with another 41 percent of respondents approving of Rauner’s job performance.
The remaining 9 percent were undecided.
The poll, which was taken Feb. 15-20, was comprised of 1,000 registered voters. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent.
This is in contrast to a seperate 2015 poll wherein 37 percent of respondents approved of Rauner’s performance and 31 percent disapproved. Thirty-two percent of respondents to that poll were undecided.
Thirty-four percent of Chicagoans approve of Rauner’s job performance, while 58 percent disapprove. In the suburbs, however, Rauner garnered 43 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval.
Rauner’s approval and disapproval ratings have both risen as his first term in office has progressed and voters have begun to formulate an opinion on his job performance.
An Ogden and Fry poll conducted Jan. 9 found that Rauner’s disapproval rating had reached 51.6 percent and that his approval rating was at 33.1 percent. Pollsters said 15.3 percent of respondents were undecided.
In response to that poll, Rauner Press Secretary Catherine Kelly claimed the governor was focused on pension reform and not poll numbers.
"The governor is focused today on saving taxpayers $1 billion through pension reform," Kelly told Ward Room.
Rauner’s first term as Illinois’ governor has been typified by a budget impasse dating back to July of last year. The historic budget battle between the governor and the Democratic-controlled legislature has hinged on Rauner’s insistence on instituting his Turnaround Agenda.
As a result of the stalemate, state universities, community colleges and social services have suffered from not receiving state funding.
David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, claimed many Illinoisans have yet to feel the true impact of the impasse.
“One reason this stalemate goes on is many simply don’t feel it is effecting their lives,” Yepsen said in a statement. “Those people aren’t likely to be pressuring policymakers to do something to break the logjam. Many programs that are funded are being paid for with loans or one-time money and that can’t go on forever.”
Still, when it came to whether respondents thought Illinois was moving in the right direction, only 9 percent agreed. Eighty-four percent said the state is on the “wrong track."
The Rauner administration did not respond to Ward Room's initial request for comment Thursday.