Cook County Beverage Tax Poll
From August 3 through August 6, 2017, We Ask America Polls™ conducted a hybrid (part automated/part live interview) telephone poll measuring Cook County likely voters’ views on the recently implemented beverage tax on sweetened products. The primary question was this: “As you may know, a new tax has taken effect in Cook County that places a one-cent-per ounce- tax on most sweetened beverages. We’d like to know if you APPROVE, or DISAPPROVE of the new Cook County beverage tax that places a new tax on most sweetened beverages.” The poll also asked voters’ opinions on the main motive for the tax increase (health vs. increased spending) and their opinions on re-electing officials who voted for the new tax. Click HERE to download the results.
The new beverage tax received the highest disapproval percentage of any similar tax we’ve ever polled: Nearly 87 percent disapproved of the tax, 12 percent approved of it and only one percent had no opinion.
Very few believe the “health” argument for passing the tax: Only 8 percent believe that the tax was implemented to improve the health and well-being of Cook Co. residents.
Commissioners who voted for the tax will have a tougher time convincing voters to re-elect them next year. Across all demographics, pro-beverage tax commissioners face potential problems if challengers use this issue against them in next fall’s elections. While nearly 10 percent of voters said they would be MORE likely to vote for a pro-beverage tax commissioner, close to 83 percent stated they would be LESS likely to re-elect a county commissioner who supported the measure. Potential political challengers will certainly use this issue that scores points on Election Day.
Notes & Comments
While it may be argued that this poll was taken soon after consumers first experienced so-called Sticker Shock from the new beverage tax and therefore doesn’t necessary reflect how they’ll feel about it next year, the extraordinarily high rate of disapproval (nearly 87 percent) indicates that this tax is not going to be merely shrugged off in the long run. Very high response percentages often are linked to a combination of intellectual and emotional factors—and that combination can affect elections.
The Ethnic Origin Demographic breakouts indicate that the tax is LEAST popular among African American and Hispanic voters. The group with the highest approval rate for the tax are Asians (17 percent).
There are statistically no differences between City and Suburban Cook residents in the approve/disapprove answers, and little difference in the other questions.
Poll details: Type: Hybrid; automated to landline phones, live operator interviews to cell phones. Responses: 1,119 Likely Voters Margin of Error: 3.0% Poll dates: Aug.