Reports

Poll: Chicago Business Executives Concerned About City Government Ethics, Support Reform

July 12, 2016


A poll of Chicago business executives found serious concern about influence and corruption in city policies and politics. Among other opinions, there is a near-unanimous view that lobbying City Council members increases corruption, companies gain a business advantage from making political contributions, and officials pay more attention to lobbyists than to voters. Amid their concern lies support for a program that would broaden and strengthen the voices of small donors by the city raising the value of their contributions. The poll was conducted by Crain’s Chicago Business and sponsored by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED), a nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization.

Click here to view the full poll results.

Select Findings

  • 92% thought that big campaign donors have a great deal of or some impact on increasing corruption in Chicago.
  • 91% felt that companies that engage with the political process in Chicago by using paid lobbyists and making political contributions gain a business advantage.
  • 92% thought that a form of crony capitalism is practiced in Chicago.
  • 79% felt that Chicago is off on the wrong track. Only 11% felt that the city is going in the right direction, while 10% were not sure.
  • 88% thought that the ethical behavior of Chicago elected and appointed officials over the past five years is a very serious or somewhat serious issue.
  • 93% felt that lobbying of Chicago City Council members and other officials has a great deal of or some impact on increasing corruption.
  • 53% felt that the influence of money in Chicago politics is bad and getting worse.
  • 58% would support a program that encourages small-dollar contributions. 17% would not support this type of program, while 25% were not sure.
  • 47% felt that a small donor program would strongly improve or lead to some improvement in the quality of candidates who run for municipal office in Chicago.