Policymakers | Intellectual Diversity

Poll Shows Illinois Public Divided On Pritzker

PATCH   |  March 11, 2021 by Jonah Meadows

When asked for their impression of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, 40.6% said favorable, 41% said unfavorable and 18.4% had no opinion.

CHICAGO — A new poll of Illinois residents indicates the public had mixed opinions on Gov. J.B. Pritzker at the midpoint of his first term in elected office.

According to the results of a telephone survey of 800 people released Thursday, three more people had an unfavorable impression of the governor than had a favorable one.

The poll found just under 41 percent of respondents had a favorable view of the governor.

Pritzker was less popular than police officers (nearly 68 percent favorable), teachers unions (51.5 percent favorable), the “Black Lives Matter Organization” (48 percent favorable) or respondents’ local school boards (46.2 percent favorable.)

Commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, or ACTA, and conducted by the firm eighteen92 from Feb. 17 to Feb. 21, the poll primarily focused on opinions about public education at the K-12 and postsecondary levels.

The polling company’s managing partner, Chip Englander, is the former campaign manager of ex-Gov. Bruce Rauner and the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul.

Part of the inspiration for the poll was the recent Illinois Department of Education regulation calling for culturally responsible teaching standards, council officials said in a release announcing the survey’s findings.

“Given the recent adoption of the new Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards, ACTA decided to find out the extent to which Illinois residents believe that an intervention of this nature is warranted,” said ACTA President Michael Poliakoff. “The data illustrate that the citizens of Illinois want politics out of the classroom and are in favor of a robust education that will prepare students for an ever-evolving workforce. Clearly, Illinois educators and legislators should take note.”

Pollsters asked Illinoisans questions like whether they think teacher training should “prioritize teaching progressive viewpoints and social justice advocacy” — just 34 percent of respondents said they did — or whether they agree “freedom of speech and open deliberation is the foundation of our democracy,” a viewpoint favored by 69 percent of respondents.

Democrats represented over 39 percent of the sample, independents more than 27 percent and Republicans less than 25 percent.

Nearly 35 percent of respondents described their political views as moderate, with about 28 percent describing themselves as liberal, 25 percent as conservative and nearly 12 percent unsure.

“Majorities of Independents agree with Republicans on almost every point we examined. In some cases, so do pluralities of Democrats,” said Jonathan Pidluzny, ACTA’s vice president of academic affairs, in a release. “That, to me, is one of the most interesting general findings in the survey. The politicization of the K-12 classroom and higher education is completely out of step with public opinion across the political spectrum.”

Seventy percent of respondents were contacted via cell phones, and about 31 percent were outside of the Chicago media market. The results of the poll were first reported by Politico’s Illinois Playbook. According to its sponsor, the poll’s margin of error is 3.46 percent.

Read more: Illinois statewide education poll results and detailed crosstabs.


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