Midwestern Attitudes on Political Reform

Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher: Midwest Democracy Network

Author(s): Belden Russonello

Research Area: Government

Keywords: accountable government; campaigns and elections; democracy

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois Michigan Minnesota Ohio Wisconsin


This survey shows that Midwesterners' trust in state government declined between 2006 and 2008. Respondents were calling for political reform and were looking for political candidates who understand that fixing how government works is necessary in order to make progress on the economy, education and taxes.

The poll was commissioned by the Midwest Democracy Network, a coalition of political reform organizations in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Nearly all were battleground states in the 2008 presidential election.

However, the poll also shows that the public hadn’t lost hope. It showed widespread support for a range of political reforms designed to make government more honest and accountable. Respondents strongly supported a number of specific reforms on open government, campaign finance, judicial independence and redistricting. Large majorities – about 80 percent – believed that a comprehensive platform of reforms would make a difference in helping state government work better. More than 60 percent said they were more inclined to support candidates who recognize that support for political reform is key to making progress on “bread and butter” issues.