Chicago — Chicago's blacks and blue-collar workers, often considered core groups in this city's Democratic Party base, are divided on the degree to which the Democratic convention unified party factions and converted wavering independents and Republicans.
Willie Jones, a uniformed black doorman at Chicago's Hotel Westin, watched much of the convention and liked what he saw. ''I think the Democrats are looking better, sounding better, and are more closely tied together than ever before.''
But just a few feet away, black cab driver Willie Peacock says he thinks the net effect of the convention coverage has been to make the Democrats look more divided than ever.
''They have a lot of coming together to do.''
And he says he thinks voters will be less than convinced that spending for social programs will really come from defense budget cuts, as most speakers implied. ''I don't think Mondale's going to cut defense that much - I think the money's going to have to come from somewhere else.''
His conclusion? ''I'm a Democrat, but I think the Republicans will win.''
Leonard Pobuta, a machinist in a hydraulic manufacturing plant, says he thinks Governor Cuomo made a very good impression on anyone watching, and that the net effect of high unemployment and the past recession strengthens the Democratic Party's prospects: ''Reagan's going to have to have a pretty good staff to make people believe they're better off - I really think a lot of people are going to change to the Democrats this time.''
On the morning after the close of the Democratic convention, Booker Dixon stood on a sunny Chicago street corner and planned two important actions that day: He was going to apply for a job at the city's sanitation department. (Work at the car wash didn't pay enough.) And he wanted to register to vote.
''If there's anybody I vote for, it's going to be a Democrat,'' he says.
''Reagan, you know, has got to go,'' he adds. Mondale has ''got a real good chance of being elected.''
But other blacks here aren't so sure.
The convention was a good sendoff for the Mondale campaign, says Dr. Donald Collins, a dentist. ''I'm in fact a Democrat, but he can't win. ... I'm lukewarm about the candidate.''
''Yeah, he'll get some votes,'' adds John A. Blaine IV, a cook at a Near North Side restaurant. But he sounds more hopeful than convinced. The Democrats ''have got to do something,'' he says.