In the Court’s hands

As chronicled throughout the nation, an Illinois Appellate Court’s recent decision that Rahm Emanuel does not meet the eligibility requirements to run for Chicago mayor has the political community flummoxed. While there were always clear issues surrounding residency requirements, many columnists and editorial boards feel that concerns over fairness should trump all others. After all, should he lose the right to run for Mayor because he left his home to serve our nation as White House Chief of Staff … but still paid taxes on his home and voted in Chicago?

But what do the People think? And if frontrunner Emanuel is off the ballot, who prevails? Ultimately, the Illinois Supreme Court will soon decide. Emanuel has won a stay of execution that will allow ballots with his name to be printed. And, of course, the Supreme Court will focus mainly on the ruling of the Appellate Court–not so much on the residency law itself.

The Chicago Retail Merchants Association asked us to measure the main questions surrounding the only-can-this-happen-in-Illinois mess, and we present the weighted topline results with their consent. To see the whole megillah, click HERE.

Type of Poll: Automated
Sample: 2,308 registered voters
Date of Poll: 1/24/2010
Margin of Error: ±2.05%
Should Emanuel stay on ballot?
Should Stay71.53%
Should Not Stay22.52%
Uncertain5.95%
Choice for mayor with Emanuel on ballot:
Braun11.04%
Chico14.41%
del Valle4.12%
Emanuel51.91%
Walls0.70%
Van Pelt Watkins2.01%
Uncertain15.83%
Choice without Emanuel on ballot:
Braun17.32%
Chico32.99%
del Valle7.32%
Walls1.60%
Van Pelt Watkins3.19%
Uncertain37.57%

The candidate list–once teeming with wannabes, is down to six:

  • Carol Moseley Braun – former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to New Zealand
  • Miguel Del Valle – Chicago City Clerk and former State Senator
  • Rahm Emanuel (pending) – former Chief of Staff for President Obama and Member of Congress
  • Gery Chico – former Chief of Staff for Mayor Daley and President of Chicago Public Schools
  • Patricia Van Pelt Watkins – community leader and founder of numerous local organizations
  • William “Dock” Walls – community activist and perennial candidate

The Illinois Supreme Court should soon examine the expedited case. Clearly, if Rahm Emanuel stays on the ballot, something dramatic has to occur to allow another challenger to catch up with him. The court’s ruling kicking Emanuel off the ballot is viewed largely by voters as being unfair, but has provided him with both a huge amount of free press, and has–believe it or not–made the feisty, hard-charging Emanuel look like a victim.

Is this a great country or what?