WASHINGTON — More than nine out of ten people in Illinois think that Gov. Rod Blagojevich should resign since he was arrested on corruption charges, according to a new Ipsos/McClatchy online poll.
The survey found that 95 percent of adults in the state think that Blagojevich should step down, as several public figures, including President-elect Barack Obama, have urged.
If he doesn't resign, 92 percent of Illinois adults think he should be impeached and removed from office by the state legislature, the survey found. While the online survey has no statistical margin of error because it's based on an opt-in online panel, the sample of 405 Illinois adults was weighted to balance the sample like the state's population, a technique that corporate America relies upon in market research polling.
The Illinois House of Representatives this week voted unanimously to create a committee to explore impeaching Blagojevich.
He's accused of trying to extort a cushy job from the incoming Obama administration in exchange for appointing an Obama pal to Obama's vacant Senate seat. The governor has the sole power to name someone to the seat for the two years remaining in Obama's six-year term.
Blagojevich also is accused of selling government contracts in exchange for contributions to his campaign war chest, as well as trying to extort the Chicago Tribune to fire a critical editorial writer.
Perhaps shocked to see another of their governors charged with a crime — he's the fourth charged with a felony since the late 1960s — Illinois residents also appear cynical about the state's political morality. The survey found just 5 percent saying that corruption there is limited to Blagojevich; 95 percent said the problem isn't confined to the governor.
The state's adults were more divided about how Illinois should pick a replacement to fill out the remainder of Obama's Senate term:
_ 44 percent said the state should have a special election;
_ 35 percent said the power to appoint a successor should be transferred to Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn;
_ 19 percent think the state legislature should choose a replacement for Obama;
_ 2 percent think Blagojevich should pick the new senator.
Democrats at first urged a special election, but have backed off as some party insiders began to fear that they could lose the seat to a Republican. Instead, they're pushing for Blagojevich to resign, which would allow Quinn to name the successor and guarantee that the seat remains in Democratic hands.
At a news conference in Chicago Tuesday, Obama sidestepped a question about whether he supported a special election.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos online poll conducted December 12-15, 2008. For this survey, a sample of 405 Illinois adults from Ipsos' U.S. online panel was interviewed online. Weighting then was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the Illinois adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls because they are based on samples drawn from opt-in online panels, not on random samples that mirror the population within a statistical probability ratio. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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