Preckwinkle’s Problems

Last week’s Illinois Manufacturers’ Association poll on the Cook County beverage tax indicated high discontent with the one-cent-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax. Does that resentment translate to political problems for the chief advocate for the tax, Board President Toni Preckwinkle?

From August 15 through August 16, 2017, We Ask America Polls™ conducted a hybrid (part automated/part live interview) telephone poll measuring Cook County likely voters’ snapshot opinions on the Cook County Board President. Three questions were asked in a particular order:

“In general, do you APPROVE, or DISAPPROVE of the job Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle is doing?”

“Do you AGREE, or DISAGREE with the following statement: ‘I will probably vote to re-elect Toni Preckwinkle as County Board President no matter who is running against her.’”

“Does that fact that Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote that created the Cook County beverage tax make you MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to vote to re-elect her?”

Note: Question 3–pointing out that Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote in the beverage tax–was purposely put at the end of the three questions to avoid any negative effect on the  other questions. The matter was addressed in a negative form similar to how potential opponents to Ms Preckwinkle will likely view the issue.

DOWNLOAD FULL RESULTS HERE.

Findings

  1. Toni Preckwinkle suffers a significantly lower job-approval rating than Donald Trump: Having only 21 percent of likely voters approving of her general performance is likely to generate serious competition for her next year in her bid for re-election.
  2. Her re-elect numbers are extraordinarily low: The re-elect question referred to the phrase “no matter who runs against her” to provide a clear-cut option. Wording it in that manner helps to determine the strength of Preckwinkle’s core support—those who will vote for her no matter what. Normal re-elect results for incumbents when this type of option is offered is in the high-30s or low-40s percentile. Preckwinkle’s 16 percent is surely going to encourage potential opponents to look closer at a possible run.
  3. Casting the deciding vote on the beverage tax may be Toni Preckwinkle’s Kryptonite. Already weakened by the issue, casting the deciding, tie-breaking vote will be an issue that potential opponents will hammer on repeatedly to great effect. The 10 percent result may mean that even if Preckwinkle leads a repeal effort, she remains very vulnerable for her initial action.

Notes & Comments

  • There was virtually no difference between the City and suburban areas in the overall approve/disapprove results.
  • Although not a traditionally huge demographic in county elections, nearly 91% of younger likely voters chose the negative option in the re-elect question. Overall, Hispanic voters had the highest negative answer (83%) on the re-elect question. Adding the “deciding vote” fact pushed the “Less Likely to Re-elect” to 98 percent among Hispanics.
  • Men gave a significantly lower approval of Ms Preckwinkle than women (14% vs 25%).

Poll details:

Type: Hybrid; automated to landline phones, live operator interviews to cell phones.
Responses: 902 Likely Voters
Margin of Error: 3.27%
Poll dates: Aug. 15-16, 2017

DOWNLOAD FULL RESULTS HERE.

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Cook County Beverage Tax Poll

From August 3 through August 6, 2017, We Ask America Polls™ conducted a hybrid (part automated/part live interview) telephone poll measuring Cook County likely voters’ views on the recently implemented beverage tax on sweetened products. The primary question was this:

“As you may know, a new tax has taken effect in Cook County that places a one-cent-per ounce- tax on most sweetened beverages. We’d like to know if you APPROVE, or DISAPPROVE of the new Cook County beverage tax that places a new tax on most sweetened beverages.”

The poll also asked voters’ opinions on the main motive for the tax increase (health vs. increased spending) and their opinions on re-electing officials who voted for the new tax. Click HERE to download the results.

Findings

  1. The new beverage tax received the highest disapproval percentage of any similar tax we’ve ever polled: Nearly 87 percent disapproved of the tax, 12 percent approved of it and only one percent had no opinion.
  2. Very few believe the “health” argument for passing the tax: Only 8 percent believe that the tax was implemented to improve the health and well-being of Cook Co. residents.
  3. Commissioners who voted for the tax will have a tougher time convincing voters to re-elect them next year. Across all demographics, pro-beverage tax commissioners face potential problems if challengers use this issue against them in next fall’s elections. While nearly 10 percent of voters said they would be MORE likely to vote for a pro-beverage tax commissioner, close to 83 percent stated they would be LESS likely to re-elect a county commissioner who supported the measure. Potential political challengers will certainly use this issue that scores points on Election Day.

Notes & Comments

  • While it may be argued that this poll was taken soon after consumers first experienced so-called Sticker Shock from the new beverage tax and therefore doesn’t necessary reflect how they’ll feel about it next year, the extraordinarily high rate of disapproval (nearly 87 percent) indicates that this tax is not going to be merely shrugged off in the long run. Very high response percentages often are linked to a combination of intellectual and emotional factors—and that combination can affect elections.
  • The Ethnic Origin Demographic breakouts indicate that the tax is LEAST popular among African American and Hispanic voters. The group with the highest approval rate for the tax are Asians (17 percent).
  • There are statistically no differences between City and Suburban Cook residents in the approve/disapprove answers, and little difference in the other questions.

Poll details:

Type: Hybrid; automated to landline phones, live operator interviews to cell phones.
Responses: 1,119 Likely Voters
Margin of Error: 3.0%
Poll dates: Aug. 3-6, 2017

Click HERE to download the results.

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