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Illinois Voters Believe Corruption Is Rampant In State, Chicago Politics: New Poll

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In this March 14, 2012 file photo, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks to the media outside his home in Chicago, as his wife, Patti, wipes away tears a day before he was to report to a prison in Littleton,. Colo., to begin a 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

A new poll just might help explain why voter turnout was so abysmally low in the recent Illinois primary.

According to data released Monday by Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, 89 percent of respondents to a recent poll of registered Illinois voters believe corruption is at least somewhat common in the state, while more than half of the respondents -- 53 percent -- believe it's "very" common.

Respondents to the poll are apparently even less confident in Illinois elected officials than they are in federal officials. Seventy-nine percent of respondents say they believe corruption is somewhat common in politics at the federal level.

While 62 percent of respondents throughout the state reported believing corruption was somewhat common at the county or city level, Chicago respondents were much more leery of their elected officials as 85 percent believe corruption at that level was at least somewhat common locally. Chicago respondents were also much more likely to say city or county corruption has "a good amount or quite a bit of an impact on their daily lives," the institute reports.

"It's hard when a big chunk of your state has a decades-long ingrained reputation for corruption," Charles Leonard, a professor visiting SIU who worked on the poll told The Southern. "It's easier for the citizens to assume corruption than to do their homework."

Four of Illinois' last seven governors ended up going to prison and Chicago was ranked as the nation's most corrupt region in a 2012 study conducted by the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The poll of 1,001 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points and was conducted via live telephone interviews from Feb. 12-25.

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