* Yesterday, Laura Washington’s column focused on a poll commissioned by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce…
Question: “Should your alderman vote to approve the proposed Wal-Mart store on Chicago’s South Side?”
Seventy-three percent of voters polled said yes, 17 percent said no, and 10 percent had “no opinion.”
Question: “Has Chicago’s City Council succeeded or failed to bring job growth and economic development to Chicago?”
Sixty-six percent said “failed.”
Whatever you think about Wal-Mart, it’s tough to argue with the response to that second question.
But here’s a secret to reading any poll. Politicians and operatives pay the most attention to voter intensity. Will a certain issue mean anything come voting time? Responses above 70 percent are given a lot of attention by the players. If not, then they’re not much to worry about.
Here’s the intensity answer to the Wal-Mart question…
Question: “If your alderman voted against building a new Wal-Mart store in Chicago, would you vote to re-elect them to office if an election were held today?”
Thirty-nine percent said, “Re-election.” Thirty-eight percent said, “Not re-elected.”
So, voters care about the issue, but not enough to make any sort of difference at the ballot box. At least, not yet. We’d need more responses to other questions to see if the issue might eventually become important enough to make a difference. I don’t have the full poll, so I don’t know if those questions even exist.
* Keep all that in mind when reading stories like this today…
Wal-Mart representatives [last night] tried to increase the pressure on Chicago’s City Council ahead of a committee hearing Wednesday where the prospect of a new South Side store could come up for debate.
A spokesman for the company announced a polling firm made automated calls today to more than 75,000 Chicagoans with a one-question recording that touted the benefits of a new Wal-Mart, including more than 400 jobs and “a wider availability of fresh groceries and other goods.”
The company said the recording also said opponents “say the jobs are not good enough.”
Wal-Mart officials said the results show Chicagoans overwhelmingly favor a second store for Chicago, but it’s unclear whether their latest public relations push will win them converts among aldermen who have so far sided with organized labor groups that oppose the store.
The ward-by-ward results of that quickie survey can be downloaded by clicking here.
…Adding… The Tribune story appears to contain a an error. The automated calls were made to 1.2 million phone numbers – everybody in the white pages - according to Serafin & Associates.
* Wal-Mart Fight Continues on Chicago’s South Side
* Poll shows Chicagoans in favor of 2nd Wal-Mart store