Local group’s poll reveals citizens’ opinions of Illinois

By Kate Szyszka

Americans for Prosperity-Illinois, a political group which encourages growth within the state, presented the results Wednesday night of a telephone poll in which 875 Urbana households participated.

The poll, which was conducted on Aug. 25, consisted of five questions ranging from approval and disapproval of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the progress and problems of the state of Illinois and the rating of public education Illinois. The poll also asked residents what they believed was the biggest issue for Springfield lawmakers.

A major problem, according to results of the poll, is ethics in government.

“Because of being more educated there is a lot of idealism here,” said Urbana resident Dianna Visek. “There is a sensitivity to ethical questions.”

Another question asked if Illinois as a state is doing better, about the same or worse than other states. Nearly 60 percent of residents polled said that Illinois is worse than other states.

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“We have to change the way we think of government,” Visek said.

Of the citizens polled, about 11 percent believed that Illinois is doing better than other states. Visek believes this statistic is skewed by the environment in Champaign-Urbana.

“We are an oasis compared to the rest of the state,” she said. “The University and health care provide a stable economy.”

About 77 percent of Urbana citizens polled also believed that as a state Illinois is on the “wrong track.”

AFP-Illinois Chairman Ron Gidwitz said he believes that through citizen involvement, the status of Illinois can improve.

Improvements can also be made on a local level using the resources available on the University campus.

“In this district with such a large student population you can substitute money with manpower,” Gidwitz said.

Visek also agreed that students can have an impact in making improvements to the issues facing the state.

“I think University students can be extremely effective,” she said. “Forming groups to sponsor speakers and talks can be a part of the educational experience.”