The local organization Campaign for a Smoke-Free Oak Park released the results of a poll last week that found approximately two of every three Oak Parkers would support a ban on smoking at all indoor workplaces, including restaurants.
The study was conducted by the opinion research firm of Fako & Associates on behalf of Smoke-Free Oak Park, a group that has been urging the village board to approve an indoor smoking ban.
The research firm interviewed 301 randomly selected Oak Park residents, as well as 300 residents from neighboring communities, including River Forest, Forest Park, Elmwood Park, Berwyn and Cicero. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percent.
In addition to gauging the level of support for a ban, the poll sought to find out whether smoke-free restaurants would attract additional diners, a claim made by the group.
The study found that 32 percent of respondents from all communities said they would eat at Oak Park restaurants more often if a smoking ban put was in place. In Oak Park alone, 32 percent said they would patronize local restaurants more often, with 15 percent saying they would do so "much more" often. In surrounding communities, 33 percent said they would eat here more often, and 18 percent said much more.
Roughly 55 percent said it would make no difference.
The study also found that, in all communities surveyed, 53 percent of respondents, and 55 percent of Oak Parkers, are more likely to go to smoke-free restaurants. Currently, 19 percent of residents leave the village to go to smoke-free restaurants, according to the poll.
In Oak Park, 77 percent of those surveyed said they prefer to sit in the non-smoking section, and 59 percent believe the non-smoking section does not offer enough protection.
The study also found that 28 percent of smokers support the ban.
Though members of a Campaign for a Smoke-Free Oak Park said they are hoping to get a ban on indoor smoking approved before local elections next April, the group's recent poll may give some indication of how the ban would play out as a campaign issue.
The poll found that 44 percent of Oak Park residents would be more likely?#34;with 24 percent "much more likely"?#34;to vote for a candidate who favors an ordinance banning indoor smoking. It also found that 42 percent said it wouldn't make a difference, and 11 percents said they would be less likely.