The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Separate Polls Tell Conflicting Stories About The Mayoral Campaign

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 19, 2014 3:30PM

Photo credit: 2014 City of Chicago/Brooke Collins

We were expecting at least a short break from polls after a nasty and vicious gubernatorial campaign. Stupidly, we forgot pollsters, like honey badgers, are relentless. Two recent surveys conducted by the Chicago Teachers Union and a Super PAC sympathetic to Mayor Rahm Emanuel cast differing opinions about how the upcoming mayoral race will unfold. Keep in mind, dear readers, polls are like opinions and we all know that adage about opinions being comparable to assholes—everybody has one and some are more noxious than others.

Yesterday, the pro-Emanuel “Chicago Forward” Super PAC released the results of a poll they commissioned they claim shows the mayor has little to worry about in his quest for a second term. In a three-way race with his primary challengers, Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia,” Emanuel holds a 19-point advantage and is close to the 50 percent threshold he’ll need to avoid a runoff election. In the survey of 601 registered voters, Emanuel garnered 40 percent support to Garcia’s 21 percent and Fioretti’s 16 percent. In the event Emanuel is forced into a runoff, he holds a 44-31 lead over Garcia and 45-31 over Fioretti. The poll also shows Emanuel has strong support among whites and is at least competitive among black and Hispanic voters, and that support for the mayor is strong in every geographic area of the city.

Becky Carroll, the longtime political insider and attack dog who heads Chicago Forward, wrote in an email to donors the poll shows Emanuel has “a clear path to re-election,” one no doubt paved by the mayor’s $8.3 million campaign fund and the $2.5 million Chicago Forward has amassed for Emanuel’s re-election effort since its June formation.

But a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners being touted by CTU paints a different picture. That poll still shows Emanuel ahead in a three-way race against Garcia and Fioretti, but the mayor is far short of the necessary support to avoid a runoff. In that poll, Emanuel leads 33 percent to Garcia’s 18 percent and Fioretti’s 13 percent. The CTU poll is more favorable to Garcia in a head-to-head matchup against Emanuel, although Emanuel still leads 36 percent to 31 percent. Again, this is not new news. CTU endorsed Garcia for mayor after its president Karen Lewis announced she would not mount a campaign in order to seek treatment for a brain tumor.

What is notable about both polls is the number of undecided voters who responded and both CTU and Chicago Forward have them in their sights. The CTU poll showed 30 percent of respondents were on the fence in the Emanuel-Garcia head-to-head. Emanuel’s approval ratings remained in the shitter in the CTU poll, with 62 percent of respondents unfavorably viewing the mayor. Garcia’s major impediment (as well as Fioretti’s) is name recognition. Forty-five percent of those polled never heard of Garcia while 37 percent had no opinion of the commissioner.

CTU says their poll shows voters “are looking for fresh leadership that will put the needs of ordinary voters, not the big moneyed interests, first.” Carroll, in her email to donors, wrote, “We will vigorously engage all voters, especially undecideds, to ensure they understand the facts versus the fiction around the demonstrable improvements made over the last three years.”

Maybe there are so many undecided voters because they never get a break from polls.