About 80 percent of Illinoisans in a new poll said that they thought the state was headed in the wrong direction, and nearly 50 percent of respondents said they would like to leave Illinois, according to a new poll.
Some of the top reasons include taxes, crime and dissatisfaction with government.
“The most troubling finding in this poll is that so many younger people are thinking about it,” said David Yepsen, the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, which did the poll. “That’s the state’s future.”
The findings of the poll of 1,000 people were released Monday.
Almost 60 percent of respondents under 35 said they would leave if they could, compared with almost 30 percent of people 66 and older.
The poll also found that almost 60 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, while about 50 percent believe that locally, their area of the state was headed in the right direction. Slightly more than half said they had a “good” or “excellent” quality of life where they lived.
The key results are larger than the 3.1 percent margin of error and therefore statistically significant, said Dr. Kenneth Moffett, a political science professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
The most troubling finding in this poll is that so many younger people are thinking about it. That’s the state’s future.
David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
The data behind the poll, however, did not offer insight into what influenced respondents. Although taken in the heat of a presidential election cycle, the poll did not define what “right direction” or “wrong direction” meant.
“It could be anything the respondent wants it to be,” Yepsen said.
Moffett said people’s satisfaction with the direction of the country could be explained, at least in part, on the party in control of the White House.
Dissatisfaction with the direction of Illinois, however, knew no ideological bounds.
In that instance, “you also have other, more structural issues” at play, Moffett said. He gave the state’s debt and pension problems as examples. “Those cross the ideological spectrum.”
Although it is possible to infer what some of the interviewees were responding to, the Simon Institute did not include responses to more specific questions regarding issues they face.
“The (raw data) are suggestive but don’t necessarily nail down the case automatically,” said Moffett, who has experience conducting polls for SIUE.
The poll was conducted using live telephone interviews carried out using random calls, 60 percent of which were from cell phones. “Potential interviewees were screened based on whether they were registered voters and quotas based on area code and sex,” according to the Institute.
The poll was conducted from Sept. 27 through Oct. 2. Women constituted of less than 60 percent of the respondents, and there was also a Spanish-language version.
Selected poll results:
Right/Wrong Direction of the Country
Generally speaking, do you think things in our country are going in the right direction, or are they off track and heading in the wrong direction?
Right/Wrong Direction Illinois
And what about the direction of the State of Illinois? Generally speaking, are things in Illinois going in the right direction, or are they off track and heading in the wrong direction?
Right/Wrong Direction Local Area
And how are things going in your city or area of the state? In general, are things in your city or area going in the right direction, or in the wrong direction?
Quality of Life
Not so good
Likelihood of Leaving State
Not very likely
Not at all likely
Desire to Leave State
Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?
Reason Intend/Want to Leave
And what is the main reason you intend to move, or would like to move?
Cost of Living/Economy
*Only asked of people likely or desiring to leave the state.
Desire to Leave Illinois by Age
Source: Paul Simon Public Policy Institute