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Monday, September 14, 2009

Breaking Down the New Daley Poll

The Chicago Tribune has a fascinating story about Mayor Daley. The headline of the story is the poll that was done with it. That poll shows Mayor Daley just slightly more popular with the people of Chicago than George Bush was with the American people in the waning months of his presidency. The real story however is the Tribune's analysis of the poll's effect on Daley's power base. Here's the money analysis.

None of this is to suggest that Daley is losing his dominance of the City Council or his luster with the city's business elite. There is no serious challenger on the horizon if Daley, who regularly wins re-election by landslide, chooses to run for a seventh term in 2011. Even more than his legendary father, the 67-year-old Daley is the only game in town.

In other words, here in Chicago normal polls don't matter. All that matters is that the Mayor keep his two main special interest groups, the city council and the business leaders, in line and happy. Those polls give him overwhelming approval.

This poll gives Daley a 37% approval rating and yet, in the words of the Tribune, "Daley is the only game in town". Think about how sad that is. We have a mayor that is overwhelmingly unpopular and yet there's absolutely no one to give him a serious challeng. The last time Daley ran he won roughly 70-20-10. There was some grumbling that in 2007 (the last election) Daley might be challenged.

The other analysis of Daley, in the article, is the idea that Daley's prestige and power rests in the decision by the IOC on October 2nd to award the Olympics. In the estimation of the Tribune, having Chicago be awarded the Olympics would reaffirm all that is good about Mayor Daley to the city.

The mayor's ability to continue to run the city as he sees fit could hinge in great part on whether the Olympics bid succeeds.

Bringing the Olympics to Chicago would represent Daley's crowning glory, showing the world how the city has changed under his guidance. But the Olympics would do more than validate the mayor's track record -- the Games represent what could be his best chance of overcoming the financial troubles that have made his job increasingly difficult.

Daley frequently touts the economic benefits of the Olympic Games, including a predicted influx of federal money for public works projects.

"The Olympics is not his going-away party or his great pyramid," said Paul Vallas, the mayor's former schools chief and budget director. "He sees this as an opportunity to provide an economic jolt at a time of a serious downturn."

Now, while the Olympics would be a boon for Daley, it's far from clear that it would be a boon for the city. Our corrupt mayor would have an enormous new toy of corruption. Billions of dollars that will be spent on the Olympics would not be spent on schools, streets, anti crime, etc. It's frankly a sad day when what's good for the Mayor is bad for the city. Yet, that's where we are at. If Chicago doesn't get the Olympics, Daley may even be vulnerable in 2011. He'll certainly have a harder time controlling his base. That will give him less ability to corrupt the city. If Daley were to get the Olympics, that would give him literally billions in potential contracts to dole out to friends in the "business community". That would of course be a disaster for the city. These contracts would be littered with corruption. That will expand the costs exponentially and that would all cost the taxpayers of the city themselves. Without the Olympics, Daley wouldn't have access to the contracts. It would also put into question his ability to be effective.

So, good for Daley is bad for Chicago and vice versa. How sad.


Laurel said...

Thank you, for putting the whole "Olympic" thing in perspective.
Chicago both needs & deserves someone to lead them, who cares about the people of our great city.
May God grant us favor, in bringing us such a leader.

Laurel said...

Thank you, for bringing such clarity, to the whole Olympic bid adgenda.
Chicago needs a leader that cares about the people of this great city. Our children deserve better, than "politics as usual"
May God grant us favor, in bringing us a leader of character & integrity, something we see so little of in our modern day culture.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that Daley has access
to all the public's money. How did
this happen? This isn't HIS MONEY!!
OF iLLINOIS. He wants to give this money to the olympics. Who in his right mind wants to visit a place
where violence rules!!! How about
using the money so that taxes stop
killing the homeowners? People can't walk down the streets without
getting killed here, Daley. You
want olympic people to get killed too!! Give us taxpayers a break,
Use the money wisely for a change , not for your whims!!