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Board President Race Shaping Up to Be Close 'Til Finish Line

By Olivia Leigh in News on Oct 17, 2006 3:15PM

Fresh off the heels of the gubernatorial poll released yesterday morning comes the Cook County Board president poll, revealing a dramatically closer race than the one for the state’s top seat.

Democrat Todd Stroger and Republican Tony Peraica are virtually neck-and-neck less than a month before Election Day, with Stroger leading 39 percent to 36 percent. With an enormous 22 percent of voters still undecided about whether
they'd rather choose the product of nepotism or the accused bigot, the race is likely to be dramatic up to the final hour of Election Day.

image.jpgSupport for the candidates, unsurprisingly, is heavily divided on city limits. In the ’burbs, Peraica is the favored candidate, with 48 percent of the support to Stroger’s 28 percent. Cross city lines, however, and you’re in Stroger territory, with him favored two to one over Peraica (50 percent to 25 percent).

Lines are also drawn based on race, with 75 percent of blacks supporting Stroger, and just nine percent backing Peraica. On the other hand, 50 percent of whites align with Peraica, with 24 percent supporting Stroger.

Stroger is the better known of the candidates; however, the recognition does not automatically transfer into more voters. It seems that a Tori Spelling-esque policy of nepotism, especially in a corruption-tied office, doesn’t suit voters’ palates. Indeed, 33 percent of those surveyed viewed Stroger unfavorably, to a 26 percent favorability rating.

That said, on the subject of corruption, voters seem to be as divided and disillusioned as ever, with 31 percent believing Peraica would do a better job of cleaning up city government to Stroger’s 29 percent, with 20 percent believing corruption would remain the status quo.

We admit that we’re a bit surprised that a Republican has been able to mount such a close campaign, despite all the controversies surrounding the Stroger campaign. In the traditionally Democratic county, 40 years have passed since a Republican has been running the show. History isn't on Peraica's side, even in the close races: a month before the 1998 race between Circuit Court Clerk Aurelia Pucinski and John Stroger, Stroger was only winning polls by eight points, a close race by any standards. But fast-forward to Election Day, and Stroger creamed Pucinski, beating her nearly 2-1.

Image via Lester of Puppets.