Illinois ranks as second least popular state in recent poll

Jia You

Illinois, home to President Barack Obama and four convicted governors, ranks as the second-least popular state with Americans who voted, according to a recent poll.

A nationwide survey on 3,300 registered voters by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based firm, found Illinois among five states generally viewed more negatively than positively.

With 29 percent of voters viewing the state negatively in various criteria – 10 percent more than voters who view the state positively – Illinois was viewed less favorably than New Jersey, Mississippi and Utah, scoring less favorably than all states except California.

The poll shows 44 percent of self-identified Republicans gave Illinois a negative review, compared to only 14 percent of self-identified Democrats. Conversely, 15 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats viewed the state favorably.

“Republican voters really dislike Illinois because it’s the home state of the president,” said Dustin Ingalls, assistant to the director at Public Policy Polling.

Young people also viewed the state more positively, with 11 percent more of voters under 30 rating it favorably rather than unfavorably. In contrast, voters from all other age groups viewed the state negatively rather than positively.

The poll did not ask voters why they like or dislike the state, but Ingalls speculated the state’s reputation for government corruption could be the reason behind its unpopularity.

McCormick senior Sahil Mehta also agreed Chicago-style politics could account for the negative poll results.

“What else would they hate about it here?” Mehta said. “Illinois has a lot of really, really public corruption trials.”

The weather could be another reason, said McCormick sophomore Robert Liu.

“The states that seem the happiest have the best weather,” Liu said.

But Weinberg sophomore Suzannah Rubinsteinsaid the poll results took her by surprise.

“It’s not strange to make friendly gestures here that it would be considered kind of inappropriate in New York,” said Rubinstein, a New York native.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokeswoman Marcelyn Love questioned the reliability of the poll conclusions in an email to THE DAILY on Tuesday, noting 52 percent of voters said they were undecided.

“Without knowing the parameters of this study, it is difficult to respond, but what is obviously missing is attention to some key facts,” Love wrote in the email.

The state ranks high for its share of total domestic tourists and for “business-friendly” states, she added.

The states that ranked most positively were Hawaii, Colorado, Tennessee, South Dakota and Virginia.

Weinberg freshman Ashlyn Mooney, who lives in Colorado, said the state has an accepting and open culture, she added.

“We’ve got a good balance of an active lifestyle as well as a lot of cultural offerings,” Mooney said.

The poll results were posted to the firm’s website Feb. 21.

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