Two-thirds want the Bears to move to Arlington Heights, poll finds

Two-thirds of Chicago-area residents favor the Chicago Bears relocating to Arlington Heights, according to the results of a recent phone survey obtained exclusively by the Daily Herald.

The automated poll, conducted June 17-21 by Inverness-based political consulting firm Cor Strategies, showed half of respondents "strongly" support the move, 16% "somewhat" support it, 7% "somewhat" oppose it, 15% "strongly" oppose it, and 11% are unsure.

The poll found suburbanites in particular back the move: 77% in suburban Cook County "strongly" or "somewhat" support it, as do 70% in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

The survey shows Arlington Heights residents overwhelmingly support the team becoming their new neighbor at the Arlington Park property: 83% in favor and 12% opposed.

In Rolling Meadows, which is south and west of the racetrack, half favor the move, a third don't, and the rest are undecided, according to the poll.

To the north in Palatine, 80% want the team to come to Arlington Park, the results showed.

Chicagoans narrowly endorsed the team leaving the city: 44% support relocation, 37% are opposed, and 19% are unsure, the survey said.

"These numbers tell us this should be more than just a negotiating tactic with the city," said Collin Corbett, founder of Cor Strategies. "The Bears should strongly consider moving to Arlington Heights."

Corbett decided to commission the poll after the Bears' announcement last Thursday that it had made an offer for the 326-acre racetrack property at Wilke and Euclid roads. Cor, which typically does work for center-right political candidates, did the Bears poll "just for fun," and self-funded it, Corbett said.

The automated phone poll, conducted by Cor's partner Victory Geek, surveyed 1,078 people and has a margin of error of 2.98%. After collecting the responses, data analysts weighted and modeled the results. Anyone who answered that they are a Packers fan were excluded, "because no one cares what they think," Corbett quipped.

Corbett also was curious to take the pulse of area residents because of his personal connections to the racetrack. It's where he and his wife Abbey got married in October 2015, and where his dad was a jockey years ago.

Corbett says he loves Arlington and wants it to stay open but also is open to it becoming the Bears' new home.

"They've already got their first suite sponsor lined up if they move," he said. "Since they'd be just two miles from my house and four miles from our office, you better bet we'd be shelling out for a sponsorship."

Churchill Downs, Inc., the owner of Arlington Park, has said only that its real estate firm received "strong proposals from numerous parties" for redevelopment of the iconic 94-year-old racetrack. Besides the Bears, the only other proposal so far revealed publicly is that of a group led by former Arlington Park President Roy Arnold, who wants to keep the existing track and grandstand for live horse racing and redevelop the area around it.

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Political consultant Collin Corbett married his wife, Abbey, in October 2015 at Arlington Park. While Corbett says he wants the track to stay open, he's also open to it becoming the new home of the Chicago Bears. Courtesy of Cor Strategies
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