October 15, 2021 9:00am

Serafin Power Poll: Bears Move Won’t Damage Chicago Reputation, But No Tax Dollars for New Stadium

Violence in Chicago top issue in mayoral election; Regulate social media platforms

Photo of Thom Serafin
By Thom Serafin
Chicago, IL Correspondent

With the White Sox’s playoff hopes prematurely dashed, attention turns to Bears drama, both on and off the field.

At the end of September, the Bears organization signed a purchase agreement for the now-closed Arlington Park racetrack, bringing them another step closer to leaving Soldier Field and Chicago. The news seems to have changed the mayor’s tone on the issue: initially dismissing the Bears potential move as “noise,” Mayor Lightfoot has since expressed her commitment to keep the team in the city. With this in mind, we asked Serafin Power Pollers if Chicago’s reputation as a city would be damaged if the Bears moved to Arlington Heights. A majority of respondents (60%) said the city would suffer no reputation hits from a move, while 40% said it wouldn’t look good if the Chicago Bears were no longer in the city.

On that point, we asked if the Bears organization should be allowed to keep “Chicago” in its name if the team does move to the suburbs. The vast majority (81%) said the team should be allowed to keep referring to itself as the Chicago Bears, with 19% preferring they change their name.

One of the arguments for a Bears move to the burbs is the possibility of a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium, which the Tribune has estimated could cost up to $2 billion. When renovations were made to Soldier Field in 2002, taxpayers spent upwards of $430 million for the improvements, leaving many to wonder if tax dollars would cover a significant amount of a new stadium in Arlington Heights. 82% of Serafin Power Pollers say that public tax dollars shouldn’t be used in moving the Bears to a new stadium, while 18% say that it should.

Major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are facing continued controversy as the sites are investigated by Congress and whistleblowers question the companies’ desire to tackle hate speech and misinformation. We asked Serafin Power Pollers if social media giants should be held to the same accuracy standards as traditional news media outlets. Nearly 82% said that social media companies should be held to the same standards, while 18% said the standards should not be the same for the different entities.

While nobody has officially launched a bid to challenge Mayor Lightfoot (who has cast some doubt on the likelihood of her running for a second term), the field is already starting to take shape ahead of the 2023 election cycle. We asked Serafin Power Pollers to choose which of a few issues would most affect the vote if the election were today and the vast majority (70%) chose violence in city neighborhoods, with crime in the Loop (21%) getting the second most votes. 5% of respondents chose high property taxes and only 3% thought that improving public schools would most affect the vote.

A total of 410 Serafin Power Poll members were surveyed and the participation rate was 24.4%. The Serafin Power Poll is not a scientific poll, but rather a fascinating and non-partisan glimpse into the attitudes and opinions of the decision-makers and thought leaders in the Chicago region.

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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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