When the soda tax was first proposed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle it was promoted as a tax on “sweetened” beverages.
Yet, it included diet pop, but not Starbucks coffee.
Now, WBBM Radio says tax defender Elissa Bassler, CEO of something called the Illinois Public Health Institute,
acknowledged it appears opponents of the tax have a veto-proof majority needed to repeal it, but she proposed the county instead should scale back the penny-per-ounce tax on soft drinks and other sweetened beverages.
In effect, one of the social engineers who convinced Preckwinkle to support their idea still support the idea, but will settle for less.
Preckwinkle, of course, was supporting the tax primarily for the money it would bring in, which the public figured out with the help of millions of dollars of advertising.
We Ask America polled twice on the issue in Chicago. (Detailed results here.)
The firm’s latest findings are below:
Soda Tax Poll Findings
1. Despite millions of dollars in TV ads justifying the beverage tax hitting the Chicago DMA, our Approve/Disapprove outcome was a virtual tie with the findings of the initial poll. In early August, we reported 86.64%of voters opposed the tax. On October 7, those opposed equaled 85.76%—well within the margin of error of the first poll.
2. Also within the previous poll’s margin of error were the percentage of voters who didn’t buy that commissioners who passed the beverage tax did so for health reasons. In early August, 80.33% believed that commissioners primarily passed the beverage tax to raise funds—not for health reasons. Two months later, 76.98% said the same—a drop of only three percentage points. It’s difficult to say that such a small drop—one basically within the margin of error—shows any statistically movement. That is true especially in light of the continuing opposition to the tax.
3. Voters are still steaming about the passage of the tax, and may take it out at the ballot box if reasonable alternative candidates challenge those who originally voted for the tax. Nearly 79% of voters say they will be less likely to vote for a Cook County Commissioner who supported the beverage tax. That number—which is just outside of the margin of error of the original poll—remains extraordinarily strong and the intensity hasn’t changed significantly. Even if the tax is repealed, the anger over its passage may hang over the next election.
With a reported multi-million dollar ad campaign by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg designed to justify the Cook County sweetened beverage tax, surely a swing in public opinion must be the outcome…right?
Not so much. This weekend, We Ask America Polls™ essentially re-ran an early August poll where the main question was:
“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.
= = = = =
A soda tax was advamced bu McHenry County Board member Mary McCann at the last meeting of the Board of Public Health.