By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — You can’t get 90 percent of people to say they believe in Santa Claus, but nearly 90 percent of Illinois voters believe in corruption.
A new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute shows 89 percent of voters asked say they believe corruption is a problem in state government.
The new poll also shows 79 percent of voters say corruption at the federal level is at least somewhat common, and 62 percent of all Illinoisans say county or city political corruption is at least somewhat common. The local corruption numbers spike to 85 percent when pollsters asked voters who live in or around Chicago.
David Yepsen, the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said the poll is a sad showing.
“No wonder many people don’t vote,” Yepsen said in a statement. “It’s unhealthy for a society to have such little confidence in the integrity of government. It makes Illinois an unattractive place to live.”
The poll asked questions of 1,001 registered voters across the state between Feb. 12 -25 and has a margin for error of 3.5 percentage points.
“We have had a great deal of corruption over the last decade or more,” David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform told Illinois Watchdog. “There’s been a lot of fodder for that kind of thinking.”
But Morrison said the polls doesn’t differentiate between real corruption and perceived corruption.
“Is it ‘I know a guy, he works for the city and doesn’t seem all that bright, but he’s always out on Election Day. So that’s corruption’,” Morrison said.
He also said he is not surprised that feeling permeates Illinois’ from top to bottom.
You can view the full Paul Simon poll here.
Contact Benjamin Yount at [email protected] and find him on Twitter @BenYount.