April 22, 2022 9:00am

Serafin Power Poll: E-Scooters a Dangerous Addition to City Streets

Chicago should push ahead with 2024 DNC bid

By Robert Klaus
Chicago, IL Correspondent
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As COVID-related news (hopefully) takes a backseat, this month’s Serafin Power Poll starts with another familiar topic: Illinois’ financial status.

State legislators passed and Gov. Pritzker has signed a $46.5 billion budget, which includes several temporary tax cuts, including a year-long suspension of the grocery tax and a freeze of the state fuel tax until after the November election. The budget also includes property tax rebates and direct checks from the state to families. We asked Serafin Power Pollers how they felt about this election year budget and the majority (63%) said it was a campaign strategy, while another 20% said it wasn’t enough to help the average Illinois family. A further 17% thought the tax cuts in the budget were a big break for the average family’s bottom line.

After the conclusion of two pilot programs, the City has announced that three companies will launch permanent e-scooter operations in May. We asked Power Pollers how they felt about adding another option to Chicago’s transportation network and respondents are clearly a little wary: nearly 40% say that the scooters are dangerous, when coupled with existing road traffic. Another 28% said that scooters will be a welcome and helpful addition to the city’s transportation infrastructure, while 7% said scooters were unnecessary. Another 26% said they don’t care about the scooters.

In early April, it was announced that the owner of Water Tower Place was giving up the property, turning it back over to the lender. It’s the most recent challenge the building has faced since anchor tenant Macy’s left Water Tower Place and plans for a potential Target store fell through last year. Several other retailers and eateries have also left Water Tower Place, so we asked what is to blame for the exodus. The majority of respondents (52%) said that crime was the leading cause, followed by the COVID pandemic at 25% and the rise in online shopping and e-commerce at 23%.

Reports from late last month indicate that Gov. Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot and Sen. Duckworth are working on a potential bid for Chicago to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, which could mean huge revenues for a convention and tourism industry still reeling from the pandemic. While the historic 1968 convention in Chicago is understandably the first to come to mind, Chicago last hosted the DNC in 1996. Serafin Power Pollers seem to think Chicago is ready to play host again, with 60% responding that it’s a good idea for the city to make a bid. Only 24% thought it would be a bad idea and 16% were neutral. Bids are due in October, so stay tuned.

Congrats to the Bulls for making the playoffs for the first time since the 2016/2017 season… and cheers to the 78% of Serafin Power Pollers who thought back in November that the Bulls would may the playoffs this season. But now that they’re in, how optimistic are Power Pollers feeling about their chances? The majority (64%) think the Bulls won’t make it past Round 1 and 15% think they’ll make it to the Conference Semifinals but no further. Of note are the optimists at 10% who think they’re going all the way and will win the NBA Finals. Anything can happen in the playoffs!

A total of 307 Serafin Power Poll members were surveyed and the participation rate was 28.3%. 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. See all Serafin Power Poll articles at serafin.com/powerpoll.

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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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