A new statewide poll shows that, if given the opportunity, a majority of Illinoisans would vote to recall Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But don't get your hopes up.
The poll of 600 registered Illinois voters taken November 1st through the 3rd by the Glengariff Group, found that 51.9 percent of registered voters said they would vote to recall Blagojevich if Illinois had the ability to recall an elected official. The state currently has no recall provision in its Constitution, but the Chicago Tribune touched off a firestorm several days ago with a Sunday editorial that broached the subject.
According to the poll, a majority or a plurality of every demographic, including race, region and party, said they would vote to recall Blagojevich. Even in Chicago, the margin was 48.2 percent for Blagojevich's recall and 43.9 percent against. And 46.7 percent of Democrats said they were for recalling Blagojevich if they had the chance, while 45.4 percent said they wouldn't support it.
The Glengariff Group poll also found that support for adding a recall provision to the Constitution has risen by 7,5 percent since May of this year, when the polling firm last asked the question. According to the poll, a whopping 65 percent of Illinoisans now favor adding recall to the Constitution, with support rising in every region of the state.
The survey showed a somewhat higher job approval rating for Blagojevich than two recent polls, which had him in the high teens to mid twenties. The Glengariff Group poll had the governor's approval rating at 31.5 percent, with 61.2 percent disapproval. That's still not good at all, of course, and 42 percent of the state's registered voters strongly disapproved of the governor's performance, which is downright awful.
All recent polling has shown the governor's support is collapsing with African-Americans, his most reliable base until lately. The Glengariff Group poll showed that black voters gave the governor just a 38 percent approval rating. That's down from an 81 percent approval in May.
Back in May, 75 percent of Chicago voters approved of the governor's job performance, but Glengariff's latest has that approval at 44 percent.
Also in May, Glengariff Group's polling had Blagojevich with a 71 percent approval rating among his fellow Democrats. That's down to just 42 percent now.
All of these most recent numbers essentially track with every other poll taken since July.
Just 26.2 percent of Illinoisans believe the state is on the right track, while 65 percent say it's on the wrong track. That's a 13 percent increase in Glengariff's "wrong track" numbers since May.
The governor's office says that they're not worried about those numbers. All politicians are unpopular these days, is the standard response.
I took a look at SurveyUSA's website last week. The polling company does a fantastic job of tracking approval ratings for statewide officials all over the country.
Alabama's governor had a job approval rating of 63 percent last month. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has had some ups and downs during his tenure, was at 53 percent approval. Kansas' governor was at 69 percent.
There are some exceptions. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's approval rating was in the negatives - 41 percent approval with 53 percent disapproval. Missouri's governor has a 42 percent approval rating while 52 percent disapprove.
Still, I couldn't find any governor, anywhere with numbers worse than Blagojevich's. Not even Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who has been beset by corruption allegations and just got pounded in that state's general election by his Democratic rival. According to SurveyUSA, Fletcher's job approval rating last month was 36 percent, with his disapproval at 60 percent.
The only politicians with worse numbers than Blagojevich's are President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. That's not exactly comforting news.
But - and this is a big "but" - any amendment to the Illinois Constitution implementing recall would have to either be passed by both chambers of the General Assembly or enacted through a Constitutional convention, which voters will have a say on next November.
It's more than doubtful that the state House and Senate would voluntarily open up that can of worms. Any convention, if it happens, wouldn't take place until 2009 at the earliest, and even then a recall provision isn't guaranteed.
In other words, you might want to recall him, but you're almost undoubtedly stuck with Rod Blagojevich as your governor through the end of his term in January of 2011.
I feel your pain.
Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter. He can be reached at capitolfax.blogspot.com.