Illinois Democrats, Republicans and independents want Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly to find common ground to solve the state's problems.
And most of those same people don't think it will happen.
That's the result of a We Ask America poll, first analyzed by Rich Miller of Capital Fax for Reboot Illinois.
The poll, taken about two weeks ago, found that 67 percent of those who identified themselves as Republicans want Rauner to find common ground to solve the state's myriad problems. A near unanimous 84 percent of Democrats wanted Rauner and the General Assembly to come together. Every demographic group favored finding common ground.
But the answers were pessimistic when the question was how confident residents were that the governor and the General Assembly would actually work together and avoid political gridlock. Just 31 percent of those polled believed that was likely. The most optimistic group was Republicans, but only 39 percent felt that way.
Of course given the history in Illinois, and in Washington, D.C., those results aren't surprising.
If government does become gridlocked, Democrats will get the blame, according to the poll. When asked who would be blamed if that happens, 52 percent said Democrats, 20 percent said Republicans and 20 percent said “all of them.''
The poll was released the same week that the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois released a new report on the condition of the state budget. That title sums it up: “Apocalypse Now.''
The report states the real deficit in the state budget by the end of fiscal year 2016 will be $9 billion. If nothing changes, that will grow to $14 billion in 2026.
The reasons are well known — using borrowed money to pay everyday expenses, avoiding tough choices and a succession of temporary revenue surges that allowed leaders to pretend the situation was improving.
The solutions aren't easy either. The policy institute said it will take a mixture of tax and fee increases along with reducing government spending to make ends meet. Illinois residents will have to lower their expectations for government, the policy states.
In other words, the policy group is saying the same thing that Illinois residents are saying in the poll. We want politicians to find some common group and to place governing ahead of politics.
The behaviors of the past can best be summed up as putting politics ahead of governing. Rauner and the Democrats need to find a way to turn that around.