An interesting poll about those of us still living in Illinois rocketed around the Internet last week.
Half of us want to get out.
That’s the result of a new poll published by Gallup, the poll people, which shows that fully 50 percent of all Illinois residents want to get out of the state. Not only that, but a previous poll also showed that this isn’t just some vague desire to move. We are among the most likely residents of any state but Nevada to act on that desire. Statistics show that 19 percent of us say we are extremely likely to move within the next 12 months.
Where do we go?
In a previous column, I talked about how Florida and Arizona are popular destinations for former Illini. But many residents take off for Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa. In other words, they are border jumpers.
Why do they leave or want to leave?
Gallup measured that, too, and most residents who want to get out of this state do so for work. Fully 26 percent say they are getting out for a work-related issue. My guess is no work here, but work somewhere else. You can only take the commute to DuBuque for so long.
That makes sense since jobs are going to our neighbors in Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa.
Another 17 percent cite the weather as a reason to get out. After this brutal winter, I can understand that sentiment. Those must be the folks heading for Arizona and Florida.
But then there are 15 percent who say quality of life is the reason they want to seek greener pastures. What can that be about?
Quality of life may be a nebulous term, but it basically has to do with the quality of the schools and the parks and the libraries and the other amenities around here. Apparently, some states are doing it better.
Left unanswered is this: Who are the people leaving and who is staying? If every other person you meet wants to go, do all those folks have something in common? I’m willing to bet they do.
I bet Democrats are staying put. If you are a Democrat, Illinois is heaven. You get to tell everyone what to do and how to live, where you send your kids to school and even what type of bag to use at the grocery store. But you get to do whatever you want, like live in the suburbs or send your kids to private school.
If you’re in a public union, you’re probably going to stick around, too. Where else do they pay you just as much, if not more, not to come to work? Where else can a policeman retire from a job in one suburb, then go get a job as chief in another suburb?
If you are poor, you are probably not going anywhere, either. And here’s a sad fact: Half the kids in the state’s public schools are poor. I don’t have exact figures, but that’s about half the people, don’t you think? Democrats, union members and the poor probably want to stay. Everyone else wants to get out.
I know this much though. If any candidate for office promised to move out of the state if they won, I’d vote for them.