November 23, 2014

Polls show Emanuel Re-election in trouble

By Mark Wachtler

November 23, 2014. Chicago. (ONN) Four years ago, the ultimate Washington-Wall Street insider sailed to easy victory for Chicago Mayor. Rahm Emanuel was declared the winner by the city’s local media before he announced his candidacy or even moved to Illinois. But polls this week show the first-term Mayor won’t have such an easy path this time around. In fact, the numbers suggest that if the Election were held today, Rahm Emanuel might not win. No matter who the polls put him against, he can’t break the 42 percent vote level.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, current candidate for Chicago Mayor. Image courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times.








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Chicago Mayor’s race - first glance

In the 2011 Chicago Mayoral Election, then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel did what shouldn’t have been possible according to all the experts - he won against five opponents on the first ballot, capturing over 50 percent of the vote and avoiding a run-off. The electorate should have been split with three credible black candidates, two powerful Hispanic candidates, and the accused Jewish carpetbagger from Washington DC who just made millions off the housing collapse by being one of the highly paid government regulators charged with preventing just such a catastrophe.



But Emanuel surprised everyone by receiving 55 percent of the vote and avoiding a run-off. How did he do it? There were three major contributors - the local media, his ground game, and the race factor. The media will undoubtedly be on his campaign team again this time as they’re all cozy friends in the Washington-Wall Street establishment. And his ground game will be even more impressive.

Your author witnessed teams of college-age kids frantically ringing doorbells and dragging Emanuel’s voters to the polls on Election Day 2011. They knew who their voters were, they had poll watchers checking voters off as they voted much like the old Machine days, and they had teams of young people going to those homes and literally dragging voters to the polls. Finally, as in every Chicago Election, race played a role, and the opposite of what many predicted. Emanuel got the white vote. And Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle split most of the Hispanic vote. But it was the black community that elected Rahm Emanuel, opting for him over three black challengers including former US Senator Carol Moseley Braun.

Could lightning strike twice in the Chicago Mayoral race? The 2011 Election violated all the laws of politics. The black community voted for the only white candidate - a rich insider from both Washington and Wall Street - over three black candidates. This time, Rahm Emanuel is in jeopardy of losing much of the black vote, and with no credible black candidates even in the race.

2015 Mayoral polls

Three different Mayoral poll results were released last week. One is from Mayor Emanuel’s own Super PAC. Another is from the anti-Emanuel Chicago Teachers Union. And the third is from the slightly more independent ‘We Ask America’. While all three show incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel coming out on top, none show him capturing the needed 50% or more of the vote needed to win.


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Lake Research Partners poll

The poll from Lake Research Partners was sanctioned by the fiercely anti-Emanuel Chicago Teachers Union and interviewed 621 Chicago voters. The CTU has already endorsed Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia over the current Mayor. From the Illinois Observer, the LRP poll showed:

First Round Vote

  • Rahm Emanuel – 33%
  • Jesus Garcia – 18%
  • Bob Fioretti – 13%

Run-off Vote

  • Rahm Emanuel – 36%
  • Jesus Garcia – 31%
  • Undecided – 30%

One striking observation the pollster notes from favorability ratings of each candidate is that of the ‘undecided’ voters, 62 percent view Mayor Emanuel ‘unfavorably’ while just 26 percent of undecideds view him ‘favorably’.

Global Strategy Group poll

The poll carried out by the Democratic Party pollster Global Strategy Group was sanctioned by Rahm Emanuel’s Super PAC ‘Chicago Forward’. The survey interviewed 601 Chicago voters. As detailed by the Chicago Sun Times, the results showed:

First Round Vote

  • Rahm Emanuel – 40%
  • Jesus Garcia – 21%
  • Bob Fioretti – 16%
  • Run-off Vote
  • Rahm Emanuel – 44%
  • Jesus Garcia – 31%

The poll showed Mayor Emanuel carrying the white communities easily with 46 percent to Garcia’s 17 and Fioretti’s 16. Emanuel also carries the city’s black communities with 38 percent to 22 and 17 for Garcia and Fioretti. But in the Hispanic communities, Garcia beats Emanuel handily with 36 percent to the Mayor’s 28 and Fioretti’s 12.



We Ask America poll

The only one of last week’s three polls that isn’t connected in some way to one of the campaigns is from We Ask America. The pollsters had some fun by not only surveying voters regarding the announced candidates, but they also asked about the most recent rumor - that just-defeated Illinois Governor Pat Quinn would swiftly make a run for Chicago Mayor. Ominously, against the most unpopular Governor in the nation, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel barely wins by only 3 percent. Here are the results of last week’s We Ask America poll:

Announced candidates

  • Rahm Emanuel – 42%
  • Jesus Garcia – 21%
  • Bob Fioretti – 16%
  • Robert Shaw – 6%

Mayor vs. Governor

  • Rahm Emanuel – 41%
  • Pat Quinn – 38%

Like the other poll, the We Ask America survey showed Emanuel carrying all racial demographics except Hispanics. Garcia wins that group with 45% to Emanuel’s 38 and Fioretti’s 8. The poll also showed that female voters are twice as likely to be undecided right now than male voters.

The deadline to file nominating petitions for Chicago Mayor and Chicago City Council is tomorrow at 5:00pm. Challenges to those petitions must be made by December 3. The Election is February 24, 2015 with any required run-offs occurring April 7, 2015.

 

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