M. Harris & Co.

Fall 2018 Temkin/Harris Poll


How We Polled

Last week, Max Temkin and I fielded our third Temkin/Harris Poll, this time in partnership with Crain's. The process has remained the same: Jill Normington of Normington Petts in D.C. conducted the phone poll of 500 registered Chicago voters last week, which means the sample is younger, more Hispanic and less African-American than the electorate (i.e., people who actually vote). The error rate is +/-4.4%. The complete cross-tabular results are attached. Most importantly, Jill does not have a client in the mayoral race.

More Media Coverage

Crime & Quality of Life

For the first time, we asked three quality of life questions. On a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree

  1. I would recommend living in my neighborhood in Chicago to a friend or family member.

  2. The crime in my neighborhood is getting worse.

  3. Chicago is a good place to find a job.

Overall, the numbers look pretty good with 73 percent agreeing Chicago is a good place to find a job and 77 percent recommending their neighborhood. But if you take a look at each answer by neighborhood, and race and age, and the intensity of these feelings, the picture becomes hazier. How many people strongly agree (the other three categories being somewhat agree, somewhat disagree and strongly disagree) in each subgroup? 

1. I would recommend living in my neighborhood
in Chicago to a friend or family member. 

Percentage who strongly agree

North Side 71%
South Side 45%
West Side 33%
Hispanic 52%

White Under Age 45: 77%
White Over Age 45: 62%
Non-white Under Age 45: 51%
Non-white Over Age 45: 35%

The answer to the question about recommending your neighborhood is less driven by where one lives (North, South, West or Hispanic wards) than by one's race and age.

Race is a bigger factor than age, but there’s definitely a compounding effect with older people being more negative than younger people.
— Pollster Jill Normington

2. The crime in my neighborhood is getting worse. 

Percentage who strongly disagree

North Side 33%
South Side 18%
West Side 24%
Hispanic 26%

White Under Age 45: 29%
White Over Age 45: 25%
Non-white Under Age 45: 29%
Non-white Over Age 45: 18%

Given the way this question is worded, the most positive answer here is strongly disagree, so that's the number we show here. The higher, the better.

3. Chicago is a good place to find a job.

Percentage who strongly agree

North Side 56%
South Side 31%
West Side 36%
Hispanic 35%

White Under Age 45: 48%
White Over Age 45: 55%
Non-white Under Age 45: 40%
Non-white Over Age 45: 27%

When you combine strongly and somewhat agree with strongly and somewhat disagree, and look solely at whether or not the person has a college degree, there's a 20-percentage-point gap on the jobs question. But there's a more than 30-point gap when you compare white people under age 45 to non-white people over age 45. We've always known there is a vast opportunity gap in Chicago; but we often focus on finding opportunities for youth. Candidates running for citywide office may want to consider additional policies and programs to benefit older minorities, who are this city's most disenfranchised subgroup.

The Mayoral Race

On Jill's recommendation, we only polled on candidates who had officially entered as of Sept. 14. So we missed Bill Daley and Toni Preckwinkle. But the main point here is that 52 percent of registered voters were undecided, and of those declared, Garry McCarthy topped the field at 9 percent. The "most undecided" group was people living on the North Side, while many African Americans have lined up behind familiar African-American candidates, such as Dorothy Brown and Willie Wilson. 

The North Side lost its candidate, leaving a void. So Bill Daley tossing his hat in makes some sense given these results.
— Pollster Jill Normington


Because Max is working on a parks project, we asked some questions about that. Here we discovered that the schism between North Side residents and everyone else runs so deep that they even want different things in their parks. If you live anywhere other than the North Side, the thing you most want from your parks are "summer and after-school programs for kids." If you live on the North Side, you prioritize "a place to walk along the waterfront," and your enthusiasm for "a nature preserve" far outstrips everyone else's.

People on the North Side think different things than everyone else.
— Pollster Jill Normington