A Textbook Victory

Last Sunday evening, we forwarded the results of our final Chicago mayoral race poll to our clients, the Chicago Retail Merchants Association. As is fairly common, they chose to not release them the day before the election, but have now allowed us to do so. Despite swirling rumors of rapid slippage in Rahm Emanuel’s large lead, our poll of 2,000+ Chicago voters instead showed just a bit of consolidation:

Rahm Emanuel54.75%
Miguel del Valle9.91%
Carol Moseley Braun7.75%
Gery Chico22.27%
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins3.45%
William "Doc" Walls 1.87%

Few predicted such a clear-cut majority for Emanuel–most polls seemed to have him teetering excruciatingly close to the 50% + 1 mark needed to avoid a runoff, but Emanuel’s numbers remained strong on the eve of election. Forty-eight hours later, he won the election with 55.2% of the vote. The other candidates finished in the order predicted by the poll (click HERE for the final election results).

While many seemed surprised, in our opinion they should not have been. Rahm had ’em at Hello. Even when Emanuel was merely a rumored candidate, he showed surprisingly strong support in our September 9, 2010 poll (for those results, click HERE). Throughout the subsequent polls we conducted on the race, (November, December, and January) and finishing with the above numbers from February 20, Emanuel continued to build momentum and only gave up a tiny bit of the ground he gained at the very end.

This was a textbook victory for Emanuel; his fundraising (more than $12 million raised, $8 million+ spent) was stellar; he was a fixture shaking hands at Chicago’s El stops even on the worst days of Chicago’s frigid winter, and he stood tall against the vitriol thrown his direction during the contentious residency debate/court battle. While many pundits pontificated that former U.S. Senator and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun would eventually erode Emanuel’s support in Chicago’s African American community, that simply never happened.

He led the field from rumor to reality.