Preckwinkle's Problems

Last week’s Illinois Manufacturers’ Association poll on the Cook County beverage tax indicated high discontent with the one-cent-per-ounce sweetened beverage tax. Does that resentment translate to political problems for the chief advocate for the tax, Board President Toni Preckwinkle? From August 15 through August 16, 2017, We Ask America Polls™ conducted a hybrid (part automated/part live interview) telephone poll measuring Cook County likely voters’ snapshot opinions on the Cook County Board President. Three questions were asked in a particular order: “In general, do you APPROVE, or DISAPPROVE of the job Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle is doing?” “Do you AGREE, or DISAGREE with the following statement: ‘I will probably vote to re-elect Toni Preckwinkle as County Board President no matter who is running against her.’” “Does that fact that Toni Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote that created the Cook County beverage tax make you MORE LIKELY or LESS LIKELY to vote to re-elect her?” Note: Question 3--pointing out that Preckwinkle cast the deciding vote in the beverage tax--was purposely put at the end of the three questions to avoid any negative effect on the other questions. The matter was addressed in a negative form similar to how potential opponents to Ms Preckwinkle will likely view the issue.



  1. Toni Preckwinkle suffers a significantly lower job-approval rating than Donald Trump: Having only 21 percent of likely voters approving of her general performance is likely to generate serious competition for her next year in her bid for re-election.
  2. Her re-elect numbers are extraordinarily low: The re-elect question referred to the phrase “no matter who runs against her” to provide a clear-cut option. Wording it in that manner helps to determine the strength of Preckwinkle’s core support—those who will vote for her no matter what. Normal re-elect results for incumbents when this type of option is offered is in the high-30s or low-40s percentile. Preckwinkle’s 16 percent is surely going to encourage potential opponents to look closer at a possible run.
  3. Casting the deciding vote on the beverage tax may be Toni Preckwinkle’s Kryptonite. Already weakened by the issue, casting the deciding, tie-breaking vote will be an issue that potential opponents will hammer on repeatedly to great effect. The 10 percent result may mean that even if Preckwinkle leads a repeal effort, she remains very vulnerable for her initial action.

Notes & Comments

  • There was virtually no difference between the City and suburban areas in the overall approve/disapprove results.
  • Although not a traditionally huge demographic in county elections, nearly 91% of younger likely voters chose the negative option in the re-elect question. Overall, Hispanic voters had the highest negative answer (83%) on the re-elect question. Adding the “deciding vote” fact pushed the “Less Likely to Re-elect” to 98 percent among Hispanics.
  • Men gave a significantly lower approval of Ms Preckwinkle than women (14% vs 25%).

Poll details: Type: Hybrid; automated to landline phones, live operator interviews to cell phones.  Responses: 902 Likely Voters Margin of Error: 3.27% Poll dates: Aug.