February 5, 2015

University poll shows majority of South Sider support using parkland for Obama Library

Most South Side residents support using land from Washington Park or Jackson Park for the Obama presidential library, according to a University-commissioned poll of local residents.

Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, a polling firm, surveyed 500 registered voters, with about equal portions residing in the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Wards, which include the two proposed park sites in Washington Park and Jackson Park. 79 percent responded that they approved of using public parkland for the library if the Obamas choose the South Side as the final location.

Of the 88 respondents who oppose using parkland, 48 percent said that they "would rather have the Obama presidential library built in New York or Hawaii" than take up parkland on the South Side.

When asked what the best reason would be for supporting the parkland proposal, about 44 percent of respondents cited the much-touted economic benefits of the library (from a study commissioned by the University), while 40 percent said that "the first African-American president should be honored in his home community on the South Side of Chicago." 10 percent were most swayed by the likelihood that the library would be located in New York or Hawaii, should the parkland not be set aside for the library.

The poll also found that 84 percent of respondents support placing the library on the South Side.

15 percent of the survey's respondents have not heard about the University's Obama library proposal.

The University poll's results are consistent with a recent Chicago Tribune poll, in which 62 percent of respondents supported using parkland, though that poll was conducted citywide.

—Marina Fang