February 16, 2024 12:00pm

February Power Poll: A New White Sox Stadium, Chicago’s Economic Outlook, the Illinois Primary, and those Problem Potholes

This month we're asking Chicago's influentials about the new Sox stadium, their plans to vote in the March primary, and an issue only a few of us escape—the perennial (and expensive for drivers) pothole problem.

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By Thom Serafin
Chicago, IL Correspondent
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Serafin Power Pollers are looking forward to Spring (soon, it’s coming soon!) and talk of baseball is in the air. The Cubs and the White Sox begin spring training in just a few days out in Arizona where no doubt we can expect conversation about the potential for a new Sox stadium. Keep reading to see how Chicago area influencers think about that, their plans to vote in the March primary, and an issue only a few of us escape—the perennial (and expensive for drivers) pothole problem.

The White Sox are in serious talks to build a new stadium on a plot of land in the South Loop called “The 78,” leaving their longtime home in Bridgeport when their lease is up in 2029. Take a look at the renderings here. We asked Serafin Power Pollers if they thought the move is a good idea:

71% said YES as long as taxpayers don’t pay the bills

19% said NO too close to the Loop, too much congestion

10% said Don’t care

Power Pollers had nothing to cheer about when asked to describe how they’re feeling about Chicago’s economic growth outlook. With experts at Moody’s projecting job growth in the city at .05% annually (just under 1% job growth nationally) an overwhelming majority of our Pollers said they were either pessimistic or neutral about the city’s 2024 economic growth.

1% said they were incredibly optimistic about the city’s 2024 economic outlook

21% said they were optimistic about the city’s 2024 economic outlook

26% said they were neutral. The city’s economy will remain pretty much the same

21% said they were incredibly pessimistic about the city’s 2024 economic outlook

26% said they were pessimistic about the city’s 2024 economic outlook

6% said they really don’t know

There is nothing neutral about Power Pollers opinion on which Chicago labor union is the most politically powerful. In fact, the vote was incredibly lopsided as our Pollers chose the 25,000-member Chicago Teachers Union as having the most political influence. There were no votes (that’s zero!) for Firefighters 2 and the Teamsters. Check out these results:

0% said Firefighters 2

4% said District 150 Machinery operators

3% said Fraternal Order of Police

90% said the Chicago Teachers Union

0% said The Teamsters Union

1% said AFSME

2% said SEIU

In addition to the U.S. presidential primary and a hotly contested race for Cook County state’s attorney, March primary voters will also decide on a referendum that would raise a tax on high-end property transfers in Chicago to fund programs that would help the homeless. 89 percent of those we surveyed said they plan to vote early, on Election Day or by absentee ballot with early voting as the most preferred option. We asked Pollers if they are planning to participate in the March 19 Illinois primary:

44% said Yes as an early voter

32% said they’ll participate on Election Day

13% said they’ll use an absentee ballot

10% said they are Unable to participate

1% said Depends on my schedule

With our ever-changing weather it seems, antidotally at least, like our perennial pothole problem returned earlier than usual this year. Like many of us, do you find yourself playing whack-a-mole on your daily commute? To wrap up our February poll, we asked if the pothole problem is any worse now than in previous years:

32% said Yes, no question about it the pothole problem is worse than ever

11% said No it’s not as bad as last winter

57% said seems about the same

For this month’s poll, we are proud to support KidsMatter. KidsMatter works collaboratively with organizations and resources throughout Will and DuPage counties, including mental health professionals, schools, public safety agencies, faith-based communities, and local businesses KidsMatter support and services impact roughly 45,000 young people, helping them build developmental assets including positive values, healthy relationships, and self-esteem.

To learn more, please visit https://kidsmatter2us.org/.

Thank you to all our Power Pollers for participating in our February Serafin Power Poll.

And don’t forget to check your inbox this coming Monday for a link to our new Power Poll Podcast! Join host Thom Serafin with guests political expert Mike Flannery and Chicago media personality Andrea Darlas for in-depth conversation and context about this month’s poll results. You can find it wherever you find your podcasts.

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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