Monday, July 31, 2017

Sangamon County Citizen survey: 19% approve of state leadership

Residents in a biennial survey on Sangamon County quality of life think even less of state elected leaders than they do of the group in Washington, D.C.

The 19 percent approval rating compared with 28 percent federal, 57 percent local and 69 percent for unelected leaders was not surprising after a two-year budget impasse, organizers of the Sangamon County Citizen Survey said Friday.

“There’s almost no confidence for state elected officials, and federal elected officials didn’t do much better,” said Matthew Case, interim director of the Survey Research Office at University of Illinois Springfield. 

The random survey of nearly 750 Sangamon County residents was released at the monthly Citizens Club of Springfield meeting at Hoogland Center for the Arts. The survey has been taken every other year since 2013. This was the first year for the leadership confidence question. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed said the state budget impasse had a negative effect on Sangamon County, while 44 percent said they had been directly affected. The uncertainty of state government gridlock appeared to affect sentiment on jobs, the loss of young professionals, education, the economy and even personal well-being.

“Unfortunately, I think a lot of it was related to the state of Illinois and just the anxiety it’s caused,” John Stremsterfer, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Land of Lincoln, said after release of the survey. The foundation and United Way of Central Illinois are partners in the survey with UIS.

United Way President John Kelker said the survey helps elected officials and social services set priorities intended to improve local quality of life. But he said state government dysfunction clearly weighed on responses this year.

There were bright spots in the responses. Solid majorities said Sangamon County was a good place to live, raise kids and work, while 60 percent rated the overall quality of education good to excellent.

Well over 90 percent reported having health insurance compared with 88 percent in first year of the survey in 2013.

The detailed survey is scheduled for online release Wednesday at

This article was published in The State Journal Register on July 28, 2017.

Read the entire article online.