Chicago Mayor’s Race Revisited

NOTE: This poll was commissioned by the Chicago Retail Merchants Association, and the results are being published with their permission.

About a month ago we published the results from a Chicago Retail Merchants Association-commissioned poll showing former White House CoS Rahm Emanuel with a commanding lead in a huge field of candidates seeking to win the Chicago mayoral race. That field has been whittled down a bit (the most well-known dropout so far is U.S. Senator Roland Burris) and the wannabes are quickly fading into the sunset. Still, serious candidates remain as competitors to Emanuel, including:

  • Carol Moseley Braun-former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to New Zealand
  • Danny K. Davis-Member of Congress and former City Councilman
  • Miguel Del Valle-Chicago City Clerk and former State Senator
  • James T. Meeks-Baptist minister, State Senator and education reformer
  • Gery Chico-former Chief of Staff for Mayor Daley and President of Chicago Public Schools

Emanuel remains smack dab in the crosshairs for a slew of detractors who vehemently claim he fails to meet the Windy City’s residency requirements after serving in D.C. as President Obama’s go-to guy. The hearings into his residency were one of the more fascinating displays of the democratic process we’ve seen. Indeed, there is a point of law that is worthy of being debated here, but the circus atmosphere surrounding the hearings went overboard. Questions on whether or not he left stuff behind in the basement of the house he rented out during his White House stint were actually among the more lucid inquiries compared to some really strange ones. His accusers have stopped just short of claiming Rahm was the second gunman behind the grassy knoll…so far. To his credit, Emanuel remained calm and cool during the whole circus. The non-binding recommendation concerning his eligibility is due from the Chicago Board of Elections at any moment. [UPDATE: As expected, Chicago election commissioners have voted to keep Emanuel on the ballot. The matter will surely now be appealed and end up in court.]

The attacks on Emanuel were well-chronicled by Chicago’s press. With all those shrill detractors getting airtime, would local voters’ support for Emanuel over some other established candidates start to ebb? We asked 2,200+ likely voters their opinion, and here’s what they said:

Type of Poll: Automated
Sample: 2,239 registered voters
Date of Poll: 12/20/2010
Margin of Error: ±2.07%
Carol Moseley Braun7.78%
Gery Chico11.78%
Danny Davis6.63%
Miguel Del Valle6.09%
Rahm Emanuel43.83%
James Meeks3.63%
All others3.91%
GENDERBraunChicoDavisDel ValleEmanuelMeeksOtherUnsureTotal
ETHNIC ORIGINBraunChicoDavisDel ValleEmanuelMeeksOtherUnsureTotal
African American13.54%2.14%16.25%1.02%39.05%8.47%2.71%16.82%100%
AGE BRACKETBraunChicoDavisDel ValleEmanuelMeeksOtherUnsureTotal
6. 65+8.72%7.74%11.53%1.41%48.10%3.66%2.53%16.32%100%
AREABraunChicoDavisDel ValleEmanuelMeeksOtherUnsureTotal
North Central8.38%10.69%11.56%5.78%39.02%1.73%3.76%19.08%100%
South Central13.10%7.59%11.38%6.90%33.45%4.83%1.72%21.03%100%

Apparently Chicago voters believe that Mr. Emanuel should not only be on the ballot, but also become the next mayor. Like the November poll, he shows strength in every demographic and neighborhood. And there isn’t much wiggle room for other challengers with the relatively low number of undecided voters. Obviously, there’s a lot of time left on the clock, and further consolidation on the ballot can have a huge impact. Plus, Emanuel’s residency question has yet to be resolved..

But for now, Rahm is looming large over the field.

Note: the Topline results were weighted to adjust for a small amount of over and undersampling in all demographics.