Most Illinoisians want limited term

By Diane Buerger

Political hats soon will be tossed into the gubernatioral ring in Illinois, and a majority of Illinois residents would like to see the next governor’s stay in Springfield limited to eight years.

Accordingly to a recent NIU poll, 62 percent of Illinois residents favor limiting the governor to two terms of office.

The limitation of the governor’s term of office was supported by 70 percent of southern Illinois residents and 54 percent of Chicago-area residents.

Ellen Dran, governmental studies research associate, said, “There is not a huge difference, but there is a difference. It’s still a majority.

She said the significant points of the survey to consider are the strong percentage of people who favor limiting the governor’s term, how the percentages have grown in the past few years and the lack of strong differences between regions of the state. The percentage of those supporting a limited term has grown 48 percent in 1985 to 58 percent in 1987.

Dran said she thinks the reason residents might favor the limitation is not due to the performance of the governor. Instead, the concern is over the fact that Gov. James Thompson has held the position of governor for so many years. Thompson is currently serving his fourth term in office.

The evualation of the governor over the last two years has been positive, with 42 to 48 percent of residents saying he has done a “good job,” Dran said.

Prospective gubernatorial Democratic candidate Michael Bakalis said, “I would support it (limitation of two terms). All government law offices should be limited or the element of accountability is gone.”

Bakalis said being in the same office for too long stifles creativity and politicians becone “cut-off” from their constituents. He said, “It is not only true of him (Thompson) but the principal is true of everbody.”

The poll, conducted by the NIU Center of Governmental Studies and the NIU Public Opinion Lab, also shows that 65 percent of residents favor separating tax money slated for Chicago-area transportation and downstate highways.

Dran said, “I was surprised to see how much alike the percentages were despite the regions of the state. Chicago wants to keep the funding seperate, which is in tandem with any place else in the state.”

Of the 805 Illinois residents polled, 69 percent favored the seperation of highway and transportationn funding and the downstate reaction was 64 percent for both central and southern Illinois.

The collar counties of DuPage, Kane, McHenry, and Will have the lowest support for the seperation of funding, but the percentages is a majority of 57 percent. Dran said Republicans and Democrats both support seperate funding at similar levels.