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Approval of Trump, Pritzker follows party, geographic lines: poll

Voters in Illinois break strongly along party lines in their ratings of President Donald Trump, (left) and Gov. J.B. Pritzker (right). | AFP, Sun-Times photos

A Simon Poll released on Wednesday finds the state remains polarized along party and geographic lines when it comes to approval ratings for President Trump, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other top state political leaders.

It also shows Pritzker, despite being in office only two months, has work to do to gain support outside Chicago and the surrounding counties.

The poll of 1,000 registered voters — released by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale — was conducted March 11-17, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Respondents gave Pritzker a 40 percent approval rating; 38 percent disapproved, 15 percent had no opinion and 7 percent neither approved or disapproved of his performance thus far. Poll authors note that former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, two months into his term, had 37 percent approval versus 31 percent disapproval.

Pritzker’s strongest numbers were, unsurprisingly, in Chicago, where 50 percent approved of his performance and 28 percent disapproved. In suburban Cook County and the collar counties, 40 percent approved, and 36 percent disapproved. In downstate Illinois, 34 percent approved, while 50 percent disapproved.

By party, 65 percent of Democrats supported Pritzker; 12 percent disapproved. Among Republicans, the numbers essentially flipped: 70 percent disapproved, 15 percent approved. Among independents, 31 percent approved, while 41 percent disapproved.

Trump’s approval ratings was 39 percent positive and 59 percent negative, the poll notes. That negative number breaks down into 49 percent who strongly disapprove and 10 percent who said they somewhat disapprove.

A whopping 93 percent of Democrats disapprove of Trump, versus 6 percent who approved of the job the president is doing. And 83 percent of Republicans approved, with only 16 percent disapproving of Trump.

“Illinois exhibits its own version of the blue-state/red-state divide,” Charlie Leonard, co-director of the Simon Poll said in a statement. “Urban Chicago and its suburbs decidedly disapprove of President Trump, while in the more Republican, less densely populated ‘red’ part of the state, he is about as popular as in a traditionally Republican state like Indiana or Nebraska.”

Only downstate was Trump’s approval/disapproval rating a net negative; there, 50 percent approved and 46 percent disapproved.

The poll found U.S. Sen Dick Durbin, up for re-election next year, had a 51 percent approval rating, compared to 41 percent who disapprove and 8 percent who either didn’t know or had no opinion. His highest approval came in Chicago, where 65 percent approved and 29 percent disapproved.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan continues to score extremely low. In Chicago, Madigan had a 26 percent approval, 66 percent disapproval rating. Suburban Cook and collar counties gave him 19 percent approval, 72 percent disapproval. Madigan also is unpopular downstate, where 71 percent disapproved and 19 percent approved.

To contrast, the poll notes that Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, who keeps a “lower profile” than the speaker, had a 24 percent approval and 35 percent disapproval rating, with 6 percent saying neither and 35 percent saying they did not know enough to rate him.