September 21, 2020 9:00am

Serafin Power Poll: Cancel Halloween? Gambling at airports? Will voters pass Pritzker's tax plan?

Power Poll members weigh in ... with some surprising results

Photo of Thom Serafin
By Thom Serafin
Chicago, IL Correspondent

The third quarter of this messy 2020 is rapidly ending and for many it feels like the only thing to look forward to is Cubs & White Sox playoff baseball!

September saw the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois issuing warnings about massive budget gaps, while restaurant dining looks like a much chillier proposition and we don’t know whether we should buy Halloween candy. 

The Serafin Power Poll has a few surprises. We have members' responses and comments below on everything from closing fiscal gaps and election predictions, to the likelihood of wearing a mask for fun, and/or trick or treating this Halloween.

Many Chicago restaurants are struggling financially because of COVID and with winter weather looming, the impact could worsen. 63% of our Serafin Power Poll members said they would rather stay home than dine indoors, a response possibly driven by the recent CDC report detailing the role indoor dining played on spreading COVID-19 among adults. 

Mayor Lightfoot recently announced the city's budget shortfall is expected to increase to $1.2 billion next year. The Mayor called on the federal government to provide additional stimulus funding to municipalities and states. Almost 43% of Serafin Power Poll members agreed the best way to close the budget hole is to petition the federal government for financial assistance. More than 20% think the best course of action is permitting and taxing video gaming at Chicago’s airports. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the options with the least support were tax increases and laying off city employees.

Speaking of taxes, the ad-buy blitz on Gov. Pritzker’s graduated income tax proposal is just underway, with both sides of the debate well-funded enough to be on the air through Election Day. Rather than asking for opinions on the merits of the proposal, we asked Serafin Power Poll members how they thought Illinoisans would vote on the issue: almost 56% said they believe the graduated income tax will be approved in November

Summer 2020 ends this week, and it certainly wasn’t what anyone had hoped for. We’re all suffering from some level of coronavirus fatigue, which Serafin Power Poll members seem to be dealing with by gathering with friends and family in small bubbles. Check out the comments below for some other ways people are handling COVID fatigue.

The holidays are sure to look different this year, with the pandemic still impacting the way we meet with friends and family. Halloween will be the first test, and discussions are beginning on how trick-or-treating can be done safely, if at all. A majority of Serafin Power Poll members (52%) say the state should take action to cancel Halloween events this year, with another 34% saying that the decision be left up to individual municipalities. The question we really need the answer to: Should we stock up on candy or not??

Thanks to all who participated and those who added to the discussion by adding comments below!


A total of 708 Serafin Power Poll members were surveyed and the participation rate was 16.5%. 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.

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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