CHICAGO, Jan. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Older Chicago voters want a mayor who will address affordability, crime and violence, and other factors that keep Chicago from being the city where they can live with their families for years to come. These voters want a safe, secure city with a reasonable cost of living and supportive essential services that allow people to stay in their homes, according to a recent survey released by AARP Illinois Monday.
With these problems in mind, more than half (53%) of Chicago voters 50 and older worry, at least from time to time, about not being able to stay in Chicago due to financial reasons. And 87 percent of older voters say it is very important to hear from candidates their plans for reducing crime and violence.
"Older voters in Chicago feel strongly that the next mayor has significant work to do in order to make them believe they can live and age gracefully in the city they call home," said Bob Gallo, State Director for AARP-Illinois, which has 250,000 members in Chicago alone.
With early voting scheduled to begin soon, AARP Illinois released the results of its groundbreaking survey as a window into what is on voters' minds going into the first Chicago Mayoral race in eight years. The survey is also a strong reminder to candidates vying for the job that older adults – who consistently show up more often to vote compared to younger voters – have real concerns about Chicago that cannot be ignored.
Among the survey's key findings:
- Seventy-six percent of respondents say they are very or somewhat concerned about Chicago prices rising faster than their income
- The vast majority of Chicago voters age 50+ agree that it is very important that mayoral candidates have a plan for reducing violence and crime
- Another 77% want to hear from candidates about how they plan to improve education in Chicago
- Older adults in Chicago want the city to be a more livable, age-friendly community. More than three quarters of Chicago's older adults (78%) want candidates to address the need for services for vulnerable residents. Ninety-three percent say it is very or somewhat important to address transportation infrastructure. Another 86 percent says it is very or somewhat important to address pedestrian safety.
- Older voters are more likely to say that it is important that the next mayor has expertise that will be useful in addressing issues of concern (69% very important; 22% somewhat important) than they are to say it is important that the next mayor is a seasoned politician with ties to existing leaders and influencers in the City of Chicago (29% very important; 33% somewhat important).
The AARP survey, conducted from Dec. 10 to 23, 2018, asked 800 voters in Chicago age 50 and older to assess what issues would be on their minds when they cast their ballots and what they would be looking for in mayoral candidates.
The survey is a continuation of the work AARP Illinois, a non-partisan organization, has done in recent years to hold elected officials accountable on issues of importance to its 1.7 members across the state. Last fall, AARP Illinois conducted a survey gauging what was on the minds of Illinois residents in advance of the gubernatorial election as part of its ongoing "Enough is Enough" campaign. To learn more about the campaign, visit: https://enoughisenough.aarp.org/
"I bought my house in Albany Park in 1995 after years of renting in the city. At the time, I was proud that my career had allowed me to pay for the single family bungalow in cash, and I imagined myself living there for the rest of my life. But today, I know this would be impossible because I just can't afford to keep Chicago as my home," said Dan Rest, a 69-year-old survey respondent. "I'm looking for a mayor who will find some way of developing a tax base and taking the burden off of the homeowners."
To see a copy of the survey in its entirety, visit: https://states.aarp.org/region/illinois/
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities.
SOURCE AARP Illinois