Community / News / November 3, 2010

Civettini, students conduct exit poll

An exit poll was conducted Tuesday, Nov. 2 in the City of Galesburg by a team of researchers from Knox College. Professor Andrew Civettini and twenty students from Knox College polled voters at a random selection of polling locations in the City of Galesburg. Voters exiting polling locations were asked to participate in an anonymous and voluntary poll. In total, 273 voters agreed to participate. The exit poll was in part a class project for students enrolled in Civettini’s Voting and Elections course.

The poll asked a series of questions about political participation, political attitudes, and who voters chose to support in Illinois’ gubernatorial race, U.S. Senate race, and U.S. House race for the 17th district. The following are results from that poll pertinent to those races.

Qualities that Matter

Voters were asked “what quality in a candidate matters most”. The top responses were “cares about people like me” at 23.7 percent, “stands up for his/her beliefs” at 16 percent, and “trust him/her more” at 14.8 percent.

In the gubernatorial race, those polled who said “cares about people like me” preferred Pat Quinn to Bill Brady, 65 to 35 percent. However, those who said that it matters most that a candidate “stands up for his/her beliefs” preferred Brady 67 to 33 percent. Brady also edged Quinn among those who thought that trust mattered most, 56 to 44 percent.

In the race for the U.S. Senate, a similar pattern holds. Those polled who saw caring for “people like me” as most important preferred Giannoulias 57 to 43 percent, while those who said it was important candidates stood up for their beliefs preferred Kirk 72 to 28 percent. Kirk also edged Giannoulias among those who felt trust was most important, 57 to 43 percent.

A similar pattern holds for the U.S. House race, with those saying a candidate “cares about people” like them preferring Hare 72 to 28 percent, but those polled who felt it mattered most for candidates to stand up for their beliefs preferring Schilling 58 to 42 percent. In a slightly different result than for the Governor’s and Senate races, Hare edged Schilling among those who felt trust mattered most in a candidate, 54 to 46 percent.

Issues in the Governor’s Race

Voters were asked, “Which one or two issues mattered most in your vote for Governor?” More than half of those polled (56 percent) said that the “condition of the state economy” was one of the issues that mattered most in their vote. Among those polled who considered the state economy a top issue for them, 60 percent preferred Bill Brady to Pat Quinn.

Only one other issue was chosen as mattering most by a sizeable proportion of those polled. 23 percent asked said that the “character of the candidates” was an issue that mattered most in their vote for Governor. Those polled who said character was a top issue preferred Brady 61 to 39 percent over Quinn.

Among those polled in Galesburg, Brady clearly edged Quinn on the issues that mattered most to voters in this election.

Partisan Breakdowns

Voters were asked which party they thought of themselves as belonging to. Among those identifying as Democrats, 77 percent said that they voted for Pat Quinn. By contrast, 98 percent of those identifying as Republicans voted for Bill Brady. Those identifying as Independent chose Bill Brady over Pat Quinn 59 to 38 percent.

In the race for the U.S. Senate, Alexi Giannoulias garnered support from 76 percent of those polled identifying as Democrats, with Mark Kirk securing 13 percent of those Democrats. By comparison, 94 percent of those identifying as Republican said that they voted for Kirk. Among those polled identifying as Independent, Kirk beat Giannoulias 70 to 25 percent.

In the 17th U.S. House district, Phil Hare and Bobby Schilling both enjoyed the support of 90 percent of those identifying with their parties, among those polled. However, Schilling edged out Hare 54 to 41 percent among self-identified Independent voters.

Further Information

Further information about the 2010 Knox Exit Poll can be obtained by contacting Professor Andrew Civettini, Department of Political Science, 2 East South Street, Galesburg, IL 61401. Civettini can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 309-341-7380.

Andrew Civettini

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