June 16, 2023 9:00am

Serafin Power Poll: NASCAR may not be worth Carmaggedon road closures

Chicago's influential divided on economic benefits of July race

By Megan McFarlane
Chicago, IL Correspondent
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As the grandstands rise and Chicago’s major roads close to motorists, frustrations are mounting.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of street closures and predicted traffic nightmares starting June 29th. NASCAR estimates it could generate more than $3 million in tax revenue for the City of Chicago but Serafin Power Pollers aren’t impressed. We asked Power Pollers if they felt the closures were worth the economic benefits and 60% voted no, saying the benefits were not worth it, but 40% said otherwise. Keep that in mind when you’re sitting in Carmaggedon traffic on the holiday weekend…

Thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers were brought to Chicago this past year with reports that they’ve been sleeping on floors in police stations and eating cold food while the City tries to handle the influx. After the Chicago City Council voted to provide $51 million toward migrant care, those conditions could change. We asked Serafin Power Pollers if they thought that amount was enough: 55% agreed $51 million was the right amount, only 8% thought City Council should have allocated more and 37% feel the money should go toward struggling communities throughout the city.

Comparatively, 82% of Serafin Power Pollers voted last month that the federal government should be paying the bulk of immigration issues. So far, the City has only received about $10 million from the federal government.

With outbreaks of violence on CTA buses and trains, we asked our Pollers if they felt safe riding the CTA. Only a mere 13% voted that they felt safe. 38% voted no and 50% said it depends on the time of day.

Chicago Police have reportedly increased patrols on the CTA trains over the past year and Mayor Brandon Johnson has said CTA safety is an essential part of his transportation plan for the city. But ridership is still lower than pre pandemic numbers as cleanliness and safety are questioned.

Amid a tax dispute with Arlington Heights that jeopardizes the Chicago Bears commitment to the suburb, the team has started to shop around. With a current total of four cities vying for the Chicago Bears attention—Arlington Heights, Chicago, Naperville, and now Waukegan, we asked if Mayor Johnson had a better, worse, or about the same chance of keeping the Bears in Chicago as Mayor Lightfoot. The majority of the Serafin Power Poll voted that Johnson had the same chance as Lightfoot, at 55%. 31% believe he has a better chance, and 14% believe they’ll be attending a Bears game outside the city in the future.

The Invest in Kids Act did not make it into the Illinois state budget signed last week, leaving the school choice program up to the General Assembly to renew or let die in the fall. The program allows individuals and corporations to donate funds for private school scholarships, and in exchange get a 75% income tax credit which is capped at $1 million. Opponents of the legislation worry it’s a mechanism to use taxpayer money to fund theological education and should instead be diverted back into the public school system. When we asked the Serafin Power Pollers, 67% voted the General Assembly should approve the legislation, 16% said they should take no action, therefore ending the program, and 17% said they should negotiate a compromise with the Illinois Education Association and Chicago Teachers Union.

A total of 756 Serafin Power Poll members were surveyed and the participation rate was 16%. 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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