March 27, 2017   


Statewide Poll Demonstrates Strong Opposition to Beverage Taxes

Informed respondents reject beverage taxes by more than 70%

CHICAGO – A statewide poll found that more than 70% of Illinois voters are opposed to a beverage tax after learning how the tax will affect the costs of hundreds of consumer products.

More than six in ten (62%) Illinois voters initially oppose a proposed statewide beverage tax, with 48% saying they strongly oppose the tax. Once voters learn how proposed taxes will dramatically increase consumer prices for hundreds of products found in the grocery store and the potential risks higher taxes pose for small businesses and jobs, more than 70% oppose a statewide beverage tax.

“The poll findings reflect the reactions of consumers and small businesses in other places where beverage taxes have already been imposed, like Philadelphia. Mom and pop stores, retailers, restaurants and consumers are experiencing reduced sales, lost jobs and far higher prices,” stated, Claudia Rodriguez, of the Illinois Beverage Association and the No Illinois Beverage Tax Coalition.

Interesting findings in the poll include:

  • Majorities of at least 60% across partisan lines and geographic markets oppose a beverage tax
  • Opposition among older voters is intense, with only female voters aged 18-44 demonstrating any inclination to supporting a tax prior to being offered counter arguments. But even this sub-group rejects the tax after being offered explanations of the cost impact and effects on small businesses
  • Opposition to a beverage tax is particularly intense among African American, Hispanic and Cook County residents overall, especially with those voters who are already aware of the pending Cook County beverage tax set to go into effect on July 1. Republican male respondents statewide also showed significant opposition to the tax.

Sixty-seven (67) Illinois House members have co-sponsored House Resolution 148, a bi-partisan measure opposing any new taxes on beverages. Many lawmakers are realizing how this very narrow and regressive tax on common grocery and restaurant products will impose higher prices, cause massive job losses across several industries and outrage consumers.

A beverage tax in Philadelphia has already produced devastating effects on the local economy, hurting small businesses and jobs. Early reports have found beverage sales in Philadelphia to have dropped between 30 and 50 percent as consumers leave the city to do their shopping. Several rounds of jobs cuts have already been announced and more are expected. Because of the size of the full Illinois market, small businesses and consumers fear even more painful impacts here.

A broad coalition of more than 1,000 concerned Illinois families, small businesses, labor unions, chambers of commerce and community organizations are opposed to regressive beverage taxes, which could dramatically increase costs for many common grocery items, including juices, teas, sports-drinks and sodas.

Public Opinion Strategies conducted a statewide telephone survey of registered voters in Illinois on behalf of the American Beverage Association. The survey was completed March 10-13, 2017, among 600 registered voters, including 240 cell phone respondents. The margin of error for a survey of N=600 is ±4.0% in 95 out of 100 cases.