County beverage tax may make pols’ re-election bids go pop, poll finds

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, left, and Commissioner John P. Daley during a board meeting on July 15, 2015. File Photo. | Saiyna Bashir/Sun-Times

Voters could cap the re-election bids of four Cook County commissioners over their support for the sweetened beverage tax, a new poll found.

It’s the latest in a series of We Ask America polls offering a snapshot into the unpopularity of the penny-an-ounce pop tax which took effect on August 2. The tax takes aim at sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks. We Ask America is a subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers Association — and the IMA is an ally of the tax’s main opponent, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

The latest poll was conducted on August 30. Registered voters were asked whether they were more or less likely to vote for commissioners based on their vote for the Cook County Beverage Tax.

The survey comes as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spends millions on TV ads to support the tax. The beverage industry is also airing its own commercials against the tax. The Cook County Board of Commissioners will meet on Sept. 13, when an anti-tax proposal is expected to be heard.

For Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr., D-Chicago, of 684 questioned, 53 percent said they were less likely to re-elect him, the poll found. For Commissioner John Daley, of 700 questioned, nearly 67 percent said they wouldn’t vote to re-elect. For Commissioner Stanley Moore, nearly 65 percent, of 712 questioned said they would not support his re-election. And for Commissioner Deborah Sims, of 718 questioned, 54.5 percent said they were less likely to re-elect.

Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. during a Cook County Board meeting on July 15, 2015. File Photo. | Saiyna Bashir/Sun-Times

One new commissioner has been appointed since the November vote. Commissioner Dennis Deer replaced Robert Steele, who died in June. The poll asked whether voters would support Deer should he choose to support the tax, if the board chooses to take up the matter once again. Of 780 questioned, 58 percent said they wouldn’t vote to re-elect Deer if he chose to support the tax.

Cook County Commissioner John Daley greets new Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore. Tuesday, April 16, 2013. File Photo. | Brian Jackson~Sun Times

The poll was conducted using automated and live cell phone and landline calls. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.65 percent.

We Ask America has conducted several polls about the tax, intended to show its unpopularity.

A poll of 902 voters conducted last month found 68 percent of registered Cook County voters disapproved of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s job performance. And 75 percent said they likely would not vote to re-elect Preckwinkle as Board president.

Commissioner Deborah Sims listens to testimony at a public hearing of the finance committee of the Cook County Board at the County Building in 2011. File Photo. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times



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