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  • About | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    representative sample constructed by sample matching in two stages First a random sub sample of 36 501 individuals was drawn from the 2004 American Community Survey ACS conducted by the U S Bureau of the Census The 2004 ACS was a probability sample of size 1 194 354 featuring a response rate of 93 1 Each respondent in the selected ACS sub sample was then paired to the closest matching active PollingPoint panelist using a measure of distance that incorporates age race education and gender Ranking was achieved by iterative proportional fitting and final weights were trimmed to lie between 0 33 and 3 Polimetrix maintains a panel of public affairs survey respondents with more than one million members These members are not a random sample of the general population but they are diverse in age race gender education level and place of residence within the United States so that one can generate effectively random samples by means of matching as described above The Illinois sample of the CCES was assembled by the same sample matching technique except that Polimetrix panel respondents were matched exclusively to individuals residing in Illinois from the ACS The resulting sample was weighted to match state demographics age race education and gender and a separate set of weights were generated by state senate district for use with selected items concerning local representation For both the national CCES sample and Illinois CCES sample margins of error can be computed in the same manner as for traditional random digit dialing phone surveys so that they depend mostly on the number of respondents but also slightly on the skew of the variables in question and on the level of confidence one desires Most poll results are reported with margins of error that reflect 95 percent confidence although this

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/opinion-monitor/about (2016-02-17)
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  • Some Opinions About Candidate Traits | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    Hurts Effect on Others Helps 34 36 2 73 No Effect 4 18 1 23 Hurts 1 2 1 4 40 57 4 Obama s race will no doubt continue to be widely discussed Already he has made history by winning a major party nomination Although he is of mixed parentage in racial terms the dominant view is that he would be the first black president Our respondents mainly said that his race had no effect on them and was more likely to help than hurt with others There s always some danger in taking survey responses at face value Might respondents feel compelled to say that they d never hold race against a candidate Yes but our design allowed respondents to give a socially desirable personal answer while also predicting how others would react and even in their third person responses our respondents were collectively of the view that race would be a net plus for Obama Table 2 2 If elected Barack Obama would be the first black president All Respondents Effect on Me Helps No Effect Hurts Effect on Others Helps 16 31 1 48 No Effect 2 19 1 22 Hurts 9 16 1 29 28 67 6 Table 2 3 John McCain was a POW in Vietnam Republicans effect on me Helps No Effect Hurts Effect on Others Helps 45 26 0 71 No Effect 6 18 0 24 Hurts 4 1 0 5 55 45 0 N 222 Independents effect on me Helps No Effect Hurts Effect on Others Helps 35 38 2 75 No Effect 1 15 1 22 Hurts 6 2 1 4 42 54 4 N 343 Democrats effect on me Helps No Effect Hurts Effect on Others Helps 29 42 4 75 No Effect 2 20 1 23 Hurts 0 1 2 3 31 64 6 N 350 Table 2 4 If elected Barack Obama would be the first black president Republicans effect on me Helps No Effect Hurts Effect on Others Helps 7 46 2 54 No Effect 0 24 2 26 Hurts 2 14 4 20 9 83 9 N 219 Independents effect on me Helps No Effect Hurts Effect on Others Helps 15 34 0 49 No Effect 2 19 0 21 Hurts 9 17 5 30 26 69 5 N 345 Democrats effect on me Helps No Effect Hurts Effect on Others Helps 24 19 2 44 No Effect 3 14 0 18 Hurts 16 18 3 37 43 51 5 N 342 3 Experience Ironically while age appears to be a disadvantage for John McCain its close correlate experience seems to help him McCain has served in the U S Congress for more than a quarter of a century and our respondents mainly viewed this record as advantageous a majority said that his experience would help him to win their votes They also told us that others will view his experience even more positively Obama by contrast has not yet completed a full term in

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/content/some-opinions-about-candidate-traits (2016-02-17)
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  • Public Health or State Intrusion? Some Opinions on an HPV Vaccine for School Girls | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    vaccination are still pushing for more aggressive programs which they say can save lives at minimal cost A great many bills are still pending We asked respondents to the January Illinois Opinion Monitor a question referencing the original Texas program Depending on their answer we asked a follow up question introducing one counter argument Our results were as follows Table 1 HPV Questions Beginning in September 2008 Texas girls ages 11 and 12 will automatically be vaccinated against HPV a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer Parents who object can file an affidavit to exclude their daughters from vaccination Should Illinois implement a similar program Yes 48 3 No 35 6 Don t know 16 1 If YES Would your answer change if some doctors argued that it is too early to know if this is an effective vaccine Yes 44 4 No 37 6 Don t know 18 1 If NO Would your answer change if the program were not mandatory that is if parents were required to opt in not opt out Yes 44 9 No 46 0 Don t know 9 1 N 998 Initially there was more support than opposition We were surprised by how rare was the don t know response and perhaps we had under estimated how much media coverage the subject had received At the same time we did not find majorities locked into either support or opposition Looking at the follow up questions sizeable numbers were willing to change their position when confronted with only one modification or rebuttal The proportions that changed from Yes to No and vice versa were about the same but fewer of the initial Yes respondents were certain they would not change away from Yes If we thus breakdown our respondents according to the combined questions we have the following distribution Table 2 Overall Breakdown of Respondents Strong Support IL should implement even if doctors say it is too early 18 IL should implement maybe not if doctors say too early 9 IL should implement unless doctors say it is too early 22 Don t know if IL should implement or not 16 IL should not implement except as an opt in 16 IL should not implement except maybe as an opt in 3 IL should not implement even as an opt in 17 Strong Opposition For the general public the initial response to the program is more positive than negative but there is clear polarization The 27 at the top of the scale either stick with their support or waffle on whether or not doctor doubts could shift their view only 20 dug in their heels in opposition or were not sure they could switch to support if the program were voluntary With most respondents lying in between we infer that both opponents and proponents have ground to cover if they hope to win the public opinion battle in this state To be clear we did not confront all respondents with both counter arguments

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/opinion-monitor/hpv-vaccine (2016-02-17)
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  • Poll Results: Family Problems and Government Solutions in Illinois | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    19 19 13 51 Health Care Quality 4 6 5 16 Mental Health 1 0 1 2 Crime 7 10 11 28 Drug Abuse 2 3 2 7 Alcohol 1 1 0 2 Property Taxes 11 7 13 31 Public School Quality 22 15 11 48 Minority Groups Problems 2 1 1 4 Immigrant Families Problems 1 0 1 2 Working Families Problems 9 10 11 30 Housing Costs 4 6 5 15 Job Opportunities 7 10 12 29 Youth Preparedness for Work 2 4 6 12 Childrens Character 4 2 5 11 Dont Know 4 percent 4 percent 7 percent 15 percent N 492 respondents Table 2 Problems for Families that the State Should Help Solve Problem Top Priority Second Priority Third Priority First Third Priority Nutrition and Exercise 1 percent 1 percent 1 percent 3 percent Health Care Cost 20 19 9 48 Health Care Quality 3 5 5 12 Mental Health 0 0 1 1 Crime 7 12 12 31 Drug Abuse 2 2 2 6 Alcohol 0 0 1 1 Property Taxes 16 12 9 37 Public School Quality 18 19 13 49 Minority Groups Problems 0 0 2 2 Immigrant Families Problems 0 0 0 0 Working Families Problems 5 3 7 15 Housing Costs 4 4 6 14 Job Opportunities 16 17 17 49 Youth Preparedness for Work 2 4 9 15 Childrens Character 2 2 3 7 Dont Know 3 percent 2 percent 6 percent 11 percent N 487 respondents The biggest contrast occurs with the issue of jobs Whereas inadequate job opportunities was selected by only 7 percent as the top issue and by 29 percent as one of the top three increasing job opportunities was the top pick for 16 percent and a top three pick for 49 percent The public evidently thinks either that the state is good at creating jobs or that this is a core task for state government even when it is not a pressing problem The flip side of this contrast is the general category of working families problems Three of our items focused not on specific problems but on problems whatever they might be faced by sub groups of the population namely working families immigrant families and minority groups Only the issues particular to working families drew much support Interestingly problems faced by working families was a far more popular selection than its counterpart assistance for working families We can perhaps infer that many people Illinois feel strongly that working families face unique challenges some of which cannot be solved by Springfield Reducing crime and reducing high property taxes were the other most popular options the latter being slightly more often cited as a priority for state government than as a generic worry Actions related to mental health basic nutrition and exercise drug abuse and alcohol abuse were only very rarely chosen Comparatively speaking these ailments strike few respondents either as grave crises or as matters on which the General Assembly ought to focus attention

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/opinion-monitor/family-problems-and-government-solutions-illinois (2016-02-17)
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  • Poll Results: Who Wants a New Constitution (and Why)? | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    would certainly have tried to feature arguments most commonly heard in the real world at the elite level in media coverage and so on With this issue there has been little enough debate that we had scant guidance We tried to select rather general arguments that might appeal insofar as they are broad claims about politics that are commonly heard in connection to other debates Figure 2 shows how respondents reacted to the five arguments hat we raised against holding a convention Figure 3 shows how respondents evaluated the five arguments in favor of a convention Interestingly the public seemed to see merit in both sides of the argument Three of the arguments against holding a convention all originate in cynicism about the likely delegates because they would be unrepresentative or too influenced by special interests or incumbent office holders Majorities of respondents found these claims plausible On the other hand pluralities thought all five arguments in favor of a convention were at least somewhat persuasive Clear majorities embraced the arguments that a convention is the only way to pass some important major reforms and that state government is not working well at present and needs to be fixed A majority also agreed that a convention is the only way that ordinary people can have a say in how government is run in what might be taken to be either a contradiction of or a rebuttal to the claims about special interests and incumbents It is not too surprising to learn that there seems to be scope to persuade people that a convention is a good or a bad idea With so little public discussion thus far most members of the public simply have not heard much elaboration on these kinds of arguments or any others and they have probably given the whole topic of the state constitution little thought That does not of course mean that people do not have preferences about constitutional provisions Figure 2 Persuasiveness of Arguments Against Holding a Convention A Special interests would control the convention B Incumbent politicians would control the convention C Delegates to the convention would not represent interests of people like me D Delegates to the convention would not be able to agree on provisions so there would be a stalemate E The current constitution works sufficiently well Figure 3 Persuasiveness of Arguments in Favor of Holding a Convention F State government is not working well at present and only fundamental constitutional change can fix it G There are a few major reforms that would improve government in the state but that cannot be passed except by having a convention H Conventions are the only way to give ordinary people a say in how Illinois state government is run I 1970 is a long time ago and our constitution is undoubtedly out of date in some ways J There is no risk if the convention produces a bad constitution the public can simply vote not to enact it Accordingly we also

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/opinion-monitor/constitutional-convention (2016-02-17)
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  • Some Survey Data on Perceptions of the Tax Burden in Illinois | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    their accuracy an obvious hypothesis is that most people might think that all of their taxes are comparatively high We can turn to perceptions of the income tax to see if that s true Objectively state income taxes are not nearly as simple to compare Some states have only one flat rate some have as many as 10 brackets The states also vary greatly in personal exemptions Illinois assesses a flat income tax of 3 percent with a 2 000 exemption for single individuals 4 000 for couples and an additional 2 000 child credit Some states have higher values some have no exemptions Nine states assess no income tax at all and can thus immediately be identified as having lower income taxes Twelve states have a higher flat rate than Illinois or else have multiple rates the lowest of which is higher than 3 percent and also do not have sufficiently more generous exemptions to offset these higher rates Ordering the remaining 29 states is a rather complicated task Objectively speaking though Illinois is probably in the bottom third when we average across the whole tax paying population Three percent is actually the minimum highest rate for those states with an income tax and most of the states with multiple brackets assess a higher rate than 3 percent on most of their residents There is however some ambiguity about the task we gave our survey respondents Whether one s own effective rate is in the top middle or bottom third depends on that taxpayer s traits Of course we didn t explicitly ask people to focus on their own taxes however most people s knowledge of tax rates is likely to be heavily based on their own experience For wealthier taxpayers Illinois income tax is almost certainly in the bottom third That is such individuals would pay more in income tax if they accrued the same income in at least 34 other states For poorer taxpayers by contrast the income tax bill in Illinois might well be in the middle of the pack Our first interest is whether people see uniformly high taxes across all types of taxation Judging by the two questions discussed here the answer is no Our respondents were about evenly divided between the answers top 1 3 and middle 1 3 with 36 percent and 35 percent having chosen those categories respectively Only 7 percent reported that Illinois is one of the 17 states with the lowest income tax rates Another 22 percent said they didn t know the answer Compared with answers on gasoline taxes then we see about the same rate of self professed ignorance but a much more even distribution across those willing to venture an opinion It does not seem to be true that survey respondents simply gravitate to the highest answer assuming the worst about their own tax burdens To be sure we have no evidence here of under estimating the tax burden Despite the ambiguity about exactly how to

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/opinion-monitor/taxes (2016-02-17)
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  • Partisanship and Perceptions of Corruption in Illinois | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    Ind pure independent IR independent Republican R Republican and SR strong Republican The independent partisans are those who initially declined to report any preference between parties but then admitted to leaning toward one party over the other when pressed The pure independents in contrast said twice that they favor neither party The partisans meanwhile are divided into those who declared themselves strongly partisan and those who said that while they think of themselves as either Republican or Democrat they are not strongly attached to that party Figure 1 Trust in Federal and State Government by Party ID It probably comes as no surprise that almost no one chose always while about 15 percent of the sample chose never More interesting is the pattern by partisanship At the time Illinois had a Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly the U S by contrast was being governed by a Republican president and a Congress in which both chambers had Republican majorities Our Republicans respondents accordingly placed much higher trust in the federal government than the state government The converse was true for the Democrats A comparison of self described strong Republicans and strong Democrats reveals a near mirror image about 40 percent saying they mostly trust the level of government where their preferred party is in power and only about 10 percent saying the same about the level of government controlled by the other party Likewise more than 20 percent of each group said they never trust the government not in their own party s hands to do what is right It is hard to believe that these differences originate in strong beliefs about the relevant institutions in DC and Springfield Instead party attachments and mutual suspicions seem to be the driving force behind these attitudes We also asked When you think about corruption in government do you think that Democrats and Republicans differ Figure 2 shows the responses again broken down by the respondents partisanship The pure independents those respondents who claim to have no leanings at all toward either major party are a bit more likely to say the GOP is worse than the Democrats on corruption For Democrats and Republicans the key issue is what proportion resisted the temptation to vilify the other party with respect to corruption Between 57 percent and 80 percent of all Republicans eschewed the partisan stance instead saying the parties were identical Only 40 60 percent of Democrats returned the favor We make no assumption about whether the parties are objectively different but we note that the GOP came out looking worse on corruption here mostly because of this asymmetry Figure 2 Do the Major Parties Differ in Their Level of Corruption Finally we also asked How serious a problem would you say that corruption is in government Please rate each of the following individuals or institutions on the corruption scale running from 1 very corrupt to 10 not at all corrupt The respondents rated all of the

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/opinion-monitor/trust-and-corruption (2016-02-17)
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  • Racial Attitudes in America: A Brief Summary of the Updated Data | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    in racial norms Schuman et al 1997 that now apply to questions of this type That is it may no longer be acceptable to admit to these kinds of attitudes in a semi public setting like a survey interview This in itself reflects a change in racial attitudes in this country even if it does not reflect changes in the hearts and minds of Americans What the implications of this change are however is subject to interpretation Finally there are a set of questions that have become less racially liberal over time Specifically questions that ask whether African Americans continue to experience racial discrimination and if the consequences of past discrimination and slavery continue to shape the experiences of today s African Americans Essentially the trend is for fewer whites to acknowledge that African Americans are adversely affected by past and persistent discrimination This trend is of consequence since support for policies targeted toward helping African Americans are closely related to whether or not an individual believes that African Americans continue to face these kinds of barriers General Summary of African American Racial Attitudes On many of the dimensions of racial attitudes that our long term surveys have tapped there has been little change in African American attitudes This was true when the 2 nd edition of the book was published and continues to be true today To some extent the lack of change is because of the high levels of agreement with the racially liberal position that had already been reached especially on questions related to the principles of racial equality and social distance At this point in time for many questions white attitudes have caught up with black attitudes However on questions related to implementation affirmative action and explanations of inequality the black white gap persists African Americans are more likely than whites to support race targeted policies e g implementation of equality government expenditures and preferential treatment And they are also to a much greater extent likely to perceive that African Americans face substantial structural barriers in American society Despite this racial gap it is also the case that in recent years there is some evidence that this gap has narrowed a narrowing caused by African American respondents becoming less likely to perceive discrimination and more likely to oppose some kinds of racial policies In other words African American attitudes are moving in a direction that brings them slightly closer to white attitudes Methodological limitations of these national survey data make it difficult to know how to interpret this somewhat conservative turn First because of small sample sizes in any given year of the survey it is unfortunately not possible to tell whether there are subgroups in the African American population that are more likely to have shifted attitudes than others Second and perhaps more importantly there is the persistent challenge of race of interviewer effects We know that African American respondents interviewed by white interviewers for some though not all racial questions tend to give different

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/programs/racial-attitudes/brief (2016-02-17)
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