Early Polls Show Support for Emanuel, But a Runoff Election is Likely
New polling shows Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel with a commanding lead over most of his potential challengers in the 2019 mayoral race, but not enough to win the contest outright.
On Monday morning, data from Public Policy Polling published by Politico showed Emanuel capturing 24 percent, followed by former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy with 11 percent, and then former CPS CEO Paul Vallas with 10 percent. In a head-to-head matchup, Vallas beat out Emanuel 39 percent to 33. In that poll Emanuel barely edges out McCarthy by one percentage point, and also wins against Lori Lightfoot and Dorothy Brown.
A poll commissioned by Emanuel’s close friend and largest donor Michael Sacks, CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management, showed the incumbent mayor faring much better.
According to the Sun-Times, Emanuel leads the pack, with 32 percent of the vote, followed by McCarthy and Vallas, with 13 and 9 percent respectively. Sacks’ poll, which was conducted from July 22 to 29, put his friend up against just six of the announced candidates including County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who has since dropped out of the race. At least nine people have announced their intention to run.
“I believe the poll shows that Rahm is the clear favorite,” Sacks told the Sun-Times. “He basically clobbers all candidates. I can’t imagine that any of the myriad candidates see things differently.” Sacks added he commissioned his own poll because he felt “a lot of the poll numbers being thrown around were lacking integrity.”
Emanuel’s job approval numbers weren’t terrible, but they weren’t stellar either. Respondents across a variety of demographic groups surveyed showed about half across the board giving the mayor a thumbs up, with African-Americans at 53 percent, followed by Hispanics at 51 percent and whites at 48 percent.
But despite having a commanding lead over an incredibly crowded field of challengers, Emanuel fails to reach the 50 plus one percent threshold he would need to win an election outright, meaning that another runoff election could be likely. Emanuel’s challengers forced him into a runoff against Cook County Commissioner Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia in 2015 that he won, taking 55 percent of the vote.
Earlier polls commissioned by the McCarthy and Lightfoot campaigns showed significantly less support for Emanuel, but election day is still more than half a year away. Some potential challengers have still yet to formally announce their candidacy, and it’s even possible other new challengers could emerge.
While the latest polls conducted show Emanuel retains a good chunk of support in Chicago, even the one conducted by his friend and donor highlights the fact that the mayor is not invincible. But a path to victory for any challenger will be difficult. Emanuel has already amassed more than $8 million in his campaign warchest and is already in campaign mode, ready to don his fuzzy sweater and play up his alleged successes while ignoring the anger some of the city feels towards him.
Chicagoans have a long memory, and many still haven’t forgotten about the school closings, the clinic closures, or Laquan McDonald. Emanuel’s opponents, however, can’t only rely on that if they want to occupy the 5th floor of City Hall next year. Most don’t come anywhere close to the level of name recognition Emanuel has, and no one is likely to match—let alone beat—him when it comes to fundraising. Still, the mayor is vulnerable to the right challenger, provided they can stand out from the rest of the pack.
Activists to Mark 50th Anniversary of 1968 DNC with Rally, March
Anti-war and other activists will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention over the weekend with a rally and march to Grant Park.
“We intend to highlight the sobering lessons of 1968 for today’s world, protesting against the policies of both the Democratic and Republican parties: Unending wars, colossal military spending that starves our schools and public services of urgently needed funds, and a brutal police and prison apparatus that targets people of color,” wrote the Chicago Committee Against War & Racism (CCAWR) in a press release.
Organizers say they’ll rally in Daley Plaza on Saturday at noon and will later march around 1pm to the Gen. John Logan Statue, the site of one of many iconic moments during the 1968 convention.
The 1968 DNC brought some 10,000 protesters to Chicago, who were met by more than twice as many police and National Guardsmen who subsequently gassed, beat, and arrested hundreds of people. Four days and nights of what was called a “police riot” by the December 1968 Walker Report resulted in more than 650 arrests, 1100 demonstrators injured, and 192 injuries to law enforcement officers.
“Outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August 1968, peaceful protesters, journalists and passersby were savagely attacked by the police under the apparent orders of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley,” wrote CCAWR, who also organized the 2003 protests against the Iraq War where tens of thousands shut down Lake Shore Drive, resulting in a mass arrest of more than 800 people. “Inside the convention, Party bosses crushed the hopes of peace candidates supported by the majority of Democratic primary voters.”