WBEZ | poll http://www.wbez.org/tags/poll Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Why don't voters research judges? http://www.wbez.org/news/why-dont-voters-research-judges-103350 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ballot%20edit.jpg" style="height: 548px; width: 620px; " title="Judges on the Chicago ballot in the 2010 general election (Flickr/Shawn Calvert)" /></p><table align="left" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="margin-bottom: 15px; width: 310px; "><tbody><tr><td><script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://static.polldaddy.com/p/6634617.js"></script><noscript><a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6634617/">Which of these elected offices do you research before voting?</a></noscript></td></tr></tbody></table><p>The first time I snuck into the voting booth with my Mom as a kid, the thing I noticed right away was how <em>long </em>we were in there. It seemed to take forever for her to pull all those levers (this was in New York, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/nyregion/04machines.html">which had old school voting for a long time</a>). I remember thinking that it really shouldn&rsquo;t be such a drawn out process; after all, weren&rsquo;t we just there to vote for the new Mayor?<br /><br />It wasn&rsquo;t until (what I now view as) embarrassingly late in my education that I realized there was a lot more on that ballot than just the Mayor or the President. In the 2012&nbsp;<a href="http://www.elections.il.gov/ElectionInformation/OfficesUpForElection.aspx?ID=33">Illinois general election</a>, you&rsquo;ve got big ticket offices like President, Congress, State Representative and State Senator. For those races, you&rsquo;ve probably at least heard the name of one person running for office.<br /><br />But what about the down ballot offices, like Regional Superintendent of Schools, Water Reclamation Board, and my personal favorite, Trustee to the Levee and Sanitation District?</p><p><em><strong>A spotlight on judges</strong></em></p><p>The elected spots that most often slip through the cracks are the judges--what can feel like, looking at the ballot, to be hundreds and hundreds of judges.&nbsp;Filling vacancies, retaining judges, all of that has to happen for state supreme court, for appellate court and subcircuit court. Which means that you&rsquo;re not necessarily pitting one person against another; you&rsquo;re voting to see if someone should still be a judge. A <a href="http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=200052">Medill article from earlier this year noted that</a> on a Democratic ballot from 2008 in Cook County, just over 70 percent of voters voted to fill a vacancy in a circuit court judgeship race.</p><p>None of this is news to anyone who has voted. What might be surprising is the prevalence of people, educated and not, who vote without paying attention to these judges--despite how relatively simple it is to figure out who should be reelected.&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong>How to get more information</strong></em><br /><br />The nonpartisan website <a href="http://voteforjudges.org/">VoteforJudges.org</a> is a favorite site of mine, one that I discovered in college when I realized I&rsquo;d have to vote for a lot of positions I hadn&#39;t been forced to pay attention to by newsmedia. Vote for Judges provides links to reports on judges from the Judicial Performance Commission of Cook County, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Council of Lawyers and the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening. The former has fully written evaluations of judges, while the latter organizations rank people along the lines of Qualified and Not-Qualified, Recommended or Not Recommended. The Alliance shows recommendations from organizations like the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago&nbsp;Area (AABA), Black Women&rsquo;s Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago (BWLA) and&nbsp;Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago (LAGBAC), among others.</p><p>Judges are in a position to have a huge impact on the laws that our other elected officials spend a great deal of time pontificating about, but they remain generally nameless to the public at large, except those that end up presiding over high-profile cases. Names that become popular are usually associated with trials like that of former Governor Rod Blagojevich&#39;s (Judge Zagel), or Judge Locallo, the subject of the book <a href="http://books.google.com/books/about/Courtroom_302.html?id=nZJPBxjI270C"><em>Courtroom 302</em></a>.</p><p>But because most people aren&#39;t being inundated with the details of these &quot;races&quot; to retain or fill a judgeship, many don&#39;t know what to do when they get in the voting booth. They also can&#39;t use voting along party lines as a fallback because the judges you see on your ballot all align with your particular party.&nbsp;</p><p>So what do people do when they don&rsquo;t know anything about their judges? Well, in the words of one friend who shared Vote for Judges on Facebook, they stare &ldquo;blankly at the page on Nov 6th.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The bottom line is there is a no one-stop shopping when it comes to finding this information. You have to dig for it,&rdquo; Travis Akin director of the watchdog group Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch told Illinois Watchdog for their piece <a href="http://watchdog.org/59562/il-judicial-elections-require-voters-to-research-and-follow-the-money/">&ldquo;Judicial elections require voters to research and follow the money.&rdquo; </a>&nbsp;&ldquo;And while we challenge people to do their homework, we&rsquo;re very much aware that not a whole lot of people are going to do that before they go to the polls.&rdquo;<br /><br />From mere crowdsourcing I&#39;ve done, a major way the people who vote at all for judges end up voting based simply off of names, via an implied race or sex. If you think more women and minorities should be elected, voting for people with names that appear female or Hispanic is a way to get that to happen (or, if you don&#39;t, to make it stop happening). To elaborate on how this doesn&#39;t help protect the interests of voters would be a big waste of words, so let&#39;s just leave that as a voting tactic that should probably be avoided.</p><p><em><strong>Tell us: do you do research?</strong></em></p><p>Voting for judges proves that in today&#39;s voting economy, though much coverage during elections surrounds whether people vote at all (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/early-voting-begins-monday-illinois-103290">especially in Chicago</a>), what the media often pays less attention to is what voters are doing when they get in there--besides, of course, votes that occur down party lines for big tickets.</p><p>So we&#39;d like you to tell us: for what races do you do research? Fill out the poll in this post, which includes most everyone you&#39;ll see at one point or another on the ballot in Chicago, per <a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/deo/Documents/CookCountyDirectoryofElectedOfficials2011.pdf">this list by the Cook County Clerk</a>. And for the coming election, you can also look up exactly who (and what &ldquo;Public Questions&rdquo;) will be on your ballot at the <a href="http://www.chicagoelections.com/">Chicago Elections</a> website.</p></p> Wed, 24 Oct 2012 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-dont-voters-research-judges-103350 Sampling the black community's opinion of President Obama's performance http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-05/sampling-black-communitys-opinion-president-obamas-performance-92842 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-05/110408_obama_elected_800 AP.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced Tuesday that he would not run in the 2012 presidential election. Many thought the Garden State governor was the GOP’s best chance to win the White House. But Republicans might have taken heart from some recent polls, which showed President Obama’s approval rating just above 40 percent. Poll results can be abstract – or just plain wrong. So to gauge personal opinions of the president’s performance, WBEZ’s Richard Steele headed out to <a href="http://www.valoisrestaurant.com/" target="_blank">Valois</a> in Hyde Park. The black community came out in record numbers during the 2008 campaign. <a href="http://wvon.com/personalities/salim-muwakkil.html" target="_blank">WVON host</a> and <a href="http://www.inthesetimes.com" target="_blank"><em>In These Times</em></a> senior editor Salim Muwakkil joined him along with local journalist <a href="http://www.hrtheseries.com/" target="_blank">Kyra Kyles</a> for a roundtable discussion with some of Valois’ lunchtime crowd. Richard began by asking everyone at the table for their current take on the president.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 14:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-05/sampling-black-communitys-opinion-president-obamas-performance-92842 Obama Has Most Polarized 2nd Yr Since Eisenhower: Gallup http://www.wbez.org/story/home-page-top-stories/2011-02-04/obama-has-most-polarized-2nd-yr-eisenhower-gallup-81792 <p><p>President Obama had the most polarizing second year in the White House of any of his predecessors since President Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to the Gallup organization.</p><p>Gallup reviewed <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/145937/Obama-Approval-Ratings-Polarized-Year-Year.aspx">the partisan approval gaps</a> between Democrats and Republicans during presidential second years and found that Obama's 68 percentage point gap is the largest since 1953.</p><p>The only president who came close to that gap was Ronald Reagan, a president whose leadership qualities Obama has openly said he admires. Reagan's second year gap between the approval of Republicans and Democrats was 56 percent.</p><p></p><p>Like Obama, Reagan also confronted a severe recession at the start of his presidency which may help to explain some of the gap.</p><p>Obama might take some solace from the knowledge that two presidents whose presidencies aren't normally seen as successful, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, had significantly smaller gaps than his, 41 percent and 29 percent, respectively.</p><p>Get out beyond the second year and the picture changes. Gallup notes that President George W. Bush had a partisan gap exceeding 70 percent in the later years of his presidency.</p><p>An excerpt:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>Though Obama's first- and second-year ratings rank among the most polarized of all presidential years, Bush had three years with a larger gap in party ratings. In Bush's fourth year in office — the year he was re-elected — there was an average 76-point gap in approval ratings of him between Republicans and Democrats.</p><p></blockquote> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1296840426?&gn=Obama+Has+Most+Polarized+2nd+Yr+Since+Eisenhower%3A+Gallup&ev=event2&ch=129828651&h1=White+House,poll,It%27s+All+Politics,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=133496076&c7=1004&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1004&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110204&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Fri, 04 Feb 2011 11:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/home-page-top-stories/2011-02-04/obama-has-most-polarized-2nd-yr-eisenhower-gallup-81792 Poll shows Emanuel with huge lead in race for Chicago mayor http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-retail-merchants-association/poll-shows-emanuel-huge-lead-race-chicago-mayor <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/IMG_6187.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A new poll of some mayoral candidates shows former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel with a huge lead over his competitors. The automated poll was conducted by the Chicago Retail Merchants Association Monday evening after all the candidates' signatures had been turned in. The poll showed 39 percent of likely voters are supporting Emanuel. One of his opponents, Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, is dismissing the numbers.</p><p>&quot;The polling is still early,&quot;&nbsp;Del Valle said. &quot;I think that as the campaigns unfold and the candidates present issues and we have some debates - as those unfold and the campaigns unfold, we'll see those numbers changing.&quot;</p><p>If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in February's municipal election, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff. Twenty people filed signatures to get on the ballot to replace outgoing Mayor Richard Daley.</p></p> Wed, 24 Nov 2010 19:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-retail-merchants-association/poll-shows-emanuel-huge-lead-race-chicago-mayor