Yesterday, we documented how a citywide poll conducted in late March for the SEIU Illinois State Council (which sponsors this website) found that Mayor Daley's approval rating is at an all-time low and that Chicagoans want a more active and assertive City Council. Indeed, 84 ...
Yesterday, we documented how a citywide poll conducted in late March for the SEIU Illinois State Council (which sponsors this website) found that Mayor Daley's approval rating is at an all-time low and that Chicagoans want a more active and assertive City Council. Indeed, 84 percent of respondents agreed "there should be checks and balances on Mayor Daley's ability to control the city budget and how city funds are spent."
But what would Chicago residents like to see their taxpayer dollars spent on?
The poll posed this question in various different ways and the answers are interesting. Here are what the respondents' viewed as the "top priority for elected officials in Chicago":
Creating local jobs: 27%
Government corruption: 11%
City services: 9%
Home foreclosures: 5%
Public transportation: 4%
Don't know: 2%
And after being told that the city has $2 billion in unobligated funds, here is what respondents chose as the "single best thing to do with the money":
Balance the city budget: 22%
Pay for roads and infrastructure: 21%
Fund a job training program: 18%
Fund programs to reduce home foreclosures: 14%
Fund a summer job program for teens: 12%
Hire more police: 7%
Pay for the Olympics: 3%
Don't know: 3%
And when asked to rate a series of programs "that some people say would be a good use for the two billion dollars in unused money," here is how the survey-takers responded:
80% liked "more money for police and community crime fighting"
80% liked "funding summer jobs programs for teens"
75% liked "fund[ing] job training programs"
72% liked funding a foreclosure prevention program
72% liked "provid[ing] grants to local manufacturers of energy efficient building products
66% liked "grants to non-profit organizations to build more affordable housing"
23% liked "setting this money aside to bid for the Olympics and pay for it"
Not surprisingly, a pervasive economic insecurity can be felt throughout these answers. Creating jobs and balancing the city budget rank high. There is also a strong desire to keep people in their homes, keep the streets safe, and keep the potholes at bay. On that final issue, road conditions are an ongoing concern: 88 percent rated "street repair" negatively as a city service.
Finally, in this economic climate, the respondents simply don't view the 2016 Olympics as a worthwhile use of any extra taxpayer dollars.
Next up I'll take a look at the poll's findings regarding several potential 2010 electoral match-ups.
The telephone survey was commissioned by the SEIU Illinois State Council and conducted by Bennett, Petts, & Normington from March 23-25, 2009. The sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.3%.