Survey Shows Bloomington-Normal Residents Favor Restaurant Smoking Ban

November 15, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - An opinion poll of Bloomington-Normal residents has shown a clear majority would favor a ban on smoking in public restaurants, echoing results from a similar survey performed 20 months earlier.

In the poll conducted by Illinois Wesleyan Associate Professor of Political Science Greg Shaw, residents also were questioned on a range of local, regional and national issues, from the downtown Bloomington arena project to the war in Iraq.

Some 73 percent of those surveyed said that smoking should not be allowed in restaurants, although 58 percent said it should be allowed in bars. Majorities in both Bloomington and Normal (71 and 69 percent, respectively) said they would favor a local ordinance prohibiting smoking in restaurants, though 69 percent said a ban would not affect how often they dine out.

On other local questions, between 61 and 70 percent said they favor requiring the downtown arena to pay what is considered a living wage in Bloomington-Normal, about $9 an hour. Numbers were more closely divided on a proposed east side bypass of Bloomington-Normal, with 38 percent in favor and 44 percent against.

While 49 percent of those surveyed generally approve of President George Bush’s job performance, 60 percent said they would vote against Governor Rod Blagojavich in favor of any Republican opponent; 63 percent would vote specifically for state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) if he were running against Blagojavich.

On national issues, between 51 and 55 percent said they do not believe the war in Iraq has been worth it; 28 percent said they feel less safe than they did before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with 54 percent volunteering the response that their feeling of safety is unchanged since the attacks.

Opinions were collected from 326 randomly selected adult residents of Bloomington and Normal.

Contact: Ann Aubry, (309)556-3181