70 Percent of Illinois Voters Favor Term Limits

A new poll (PDF) finds that 70 percent of Illinoisans think the state is heading in the wrong direction. Even stronger majorities favor term limits for state legislators. Brian Mackey has more:

Nearly four out of five Illinois voters favor limiting how long people can be members of the Illinois General Assembly: five consecutive terms for members of the House, three for the Senate.

LEONARD: “That is a high level of dissatisfaction with their leadership.”

Charles Leonard supervised the poll. He’s a professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Leonard says there are a few things Illinois politicians can do to improve public perception of government, like requiring that they disclose more about their personal and campaign finances, or banning lobbyists from buying gifts and meals for politicians. But he acknowledges more significant changes, like term limits, could be more difficult to pass.

LEONARD: “It is perhaps unrealistic to expect a legislature to impose rules upon itself.”

The institute is sponsoring a conference of academics, journalists and self-styled reformers in Chicago this week. Leonard says he hopes the gathering will bring pressure — positive or negative — to bear on ethics in Illinois government.

— Brian Mackey

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