A new poll — paid for by a pro-business group opposing a graduated income tax — finds President Donald Trump has a higher favorability ranking in Illinois than both Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
The We Ask America poll was commissioned by the not-for-profit dark money group Ideas Illinois, which is led by former Illinois Manufacturers’ Association head Greg Baise. The group is working hard to publicly oppose Pritzker’s plan to push for a graduated income tax, which the governor wants on the 2020 ballot. Pritzker is among the big money funders of Think Big Illinois, another dark money group fighting for the progressive income tax.
We Ask America is a subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers Association.
Pritzker, ambitiously, wants a progressive income tax approved before the Illinois General Assembly adjourns in May, setting the stage for a lengthy 17-month public campaign leading up to a November 2020 referendum seeking the required change to the state constitution.
The poll of 800 voters was conducted between Feb. 24 and 27, using a mix of automated calls to landlines and live cell phone calls. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points. We Ask America did not release the crosstabs — including the gender or ages of those who were polled.
The poll asked about the job performance of Pritzker, who has only been in office since Jan. 14. It found that 37 percent said they approved of the governor’s job performance, while 36 percent disapproved. Among Republicans, 69 percent disapproved, while only 16 percent approved. Among Democrats, however, 57 percent approved of his performance, while only 13 percent disapproved. Of independent voters, 29 percent approved of Pritzker’s job performance.
Voters were also asked about Trump, and 41 percent said they approved of Trump’s performance, while 56 percent disapproved. The president’s approval is at 86 percent among Republicans, while his disapproval was at 89 percent among Democrats. Among independents, 42 percent approved, while 51 percent disapproved of his performance. The net job approval — the approval minus disapproval — for the president is at minus 15 percent. The latest Morning Consult poll had Illinois at -23 net approval for a poll conducted in January.
Madigan fared the worst in the poll, with just 18 percent of those polled saying they had a favorable opinion, and 41 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion of the longest serving statehouse speaker in U.S. history. Even among Democrats, just 26 percent had a favorable opinion. The poll found 40 percent had no opinion, however.
Madigan is still working on a public relations blitz to try to recover from the years and millions spent to tarnish his name. On the heels of huge legislative victories, Madigan in January paid for a rare non-election-related television ad to promote the “Democratic agenda,” and “move beyond the failures of Bruce Rauner and the extreme agenda of Donald Trump.”
Those polled were also asked about the direction of the country and state. Overall, 34 percent of those polled said they believed the country was headed in the right direction, while 55 percent said it’s on the wrong track. Regarding Illinois, 23 percent of those polled said the state is headed in the right direction, and 65 percent said the state is on the wrong track.
Pritzker delivered his first budget address last month and included revenue from big-picture items that still need approval, such as legalizing marijuana and sports betting. It also includes putting off pension payments — extending the state’s pension payment “ramp” by seven years to reduce short-term costs, which may worsen problems in the future. It also proposed the progressive income tax as a way to save the state.
The poll asked what voters thought about Pritzker’s first budget proposal. About 45 percent weren’t sure of his budget, with 22 percent supporting it and 33 percent saying they opposed it.
A state constitutional amendment on the progressive income tax would require a three-fifths majority, or a majority of those voting in the election.