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Lightfoot takes heat for first half, but while poll shows her above water she’s far below her winning margin

Friday, May 14, 2021

* It’s almost the two-year mark for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, so analyses abound. I’ll just focus on my lane. Here’s Greg Hinz

One place adjustment clearly is needed is Springfield. Despite a big win in finally getting permission to build a casino—something her predecessors could only dream about—the mayor’s team constantly jostles with Pritzker’s. With her friend John Cullerton no longer the Senate president, Lightfoot suffered a series of humiliating defeats, including being routed on a bill that will raise pensions for some firefighters at a difficult time, dropping plans for a tax hike she wanted for affordable housing and struggling to save her power on the school board.

The advice from such varied figures as House GOP Leader Jim Durkin and Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago: Reach out, personally. “It’s about compromising and collaborating,” Feigenholtz puts it.

That graduated real estate transfer tax issue could’ve been easily resolved had she simply recognized that the other side had enough votes to kill her plan and all she had to do was find a win. She went my way or the highway and it died. Her refusal to deal on the elected school board likely led to the firefighters pension bill, and her elected board counter-proposal was ridiculous. Subscribers know more about another challenge she faces these days.

* But despite all this, she apparently remains above water with the public. This poll was conducted by the same pollster I used last year and found to be pretty darned reliable

The poll, which had a margin of error of 4.8%, also asked respondents how they rate Lightfoot’s overall performance, with 53% saying they either strongly approved or somewhat approved of the job she’s doing.

Lightfoot did best among respondents age 65 or older; 64% of them approved of the job she’s done. And 70% of Black respondents approved of her performance.

According to the poll, 41% of Latinos surveyed and 50% of whites said they approved of her performance.

Remember, however, that she won her election with 73 percent of the vote. Also, you may notice there are no disapproval numbers in that story.

* I reached out and was able to get the crosstabs. Here are her topline results…

As you can see, she’s at 14 percent strongly approve with all respondents versus 24 strongly disapprove.

The crosstabs show her underwater with Latinos 41-58. She’s at 50-49 with whites, 70-30 with Black people, 44-56 with 18-34 year olds, 59-42 with 35-49 year olds, 54-47 with 50-64 year olds and 64-35 with 65+. Obviously, there’s some rounding to those numbers over four different variables. Methodology is here.

There’s another angle to this poll, so I’ll try to get to that in a bit.

* Related…

* As Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s two-year anniversary approaches, top-level vacancies are mounting: ‘This has been a very tough year, I think, on a lot of people’

* Greater transparency would make Mayor Lightfoot’s tough job a little easier

* Reform advocates oppose Lori Lypson’s apparent nomination to run the Civilian Office of Police Accountability

* Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Ran As An Outsider. Two Years In, Her Approach Hasn’t Changed.

* Leaked Emails Reveal City Hall Failed To Keep Little Village Neighbors Updated On Hilco Work Despite Promise After Dust Disaster

* Lightfoot Canceled Her Chicago Tribune Subscription Over Reporting She Didn’t Like, Leaked Emails Show

* A humble plea to Mayor Lori Lightfoot: Please resubscribe to the Chicago Tribune

* Alderman demands City Hall issue guidance on summer block parties

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - NIU Grad - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:34 am:

    The sense I get from people that I know who still support her is that they like her “picking a fight” attitude, but don’t fully know what her administration is doing.

    Will that be enough to carry her in a general election? I doubt it, but it depends on the opposition. My gut tells me that the DSA/CTU folks are going to overplay their hand and assume that this is their opening for a “dream” candidate, which will scare the moderates back to Lori’s court. I still believe that Lori’s 70%+ margin was less about her and more about people’s fears about CTU-backed candidates raising their taxes (ironic, because this thinking has led to both Rahm and Lori raising property taxes).


  2. - lake county democrat - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:35 am:

    I’m thinking this poll is relatively good news given all the Lori bashing I see online. The approval numbers may be mediocre, but they’re in a vacuum - all she has to do is be more popular than her opponents.


  3. - Responsa - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:37 am:

    As people get out more and more now and witness first hand the decimation of store fronts and loss of businesses throughout the breath of the city I can only guess that Lightfoot’s poll numbers will slip further, rather than recover back to her election highs.


  4. - Roman - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:37 am:

    == She went my way or the highway ==

    Yes, on the transfer tax and the firefighter pension bill, too. Could have cut a deal to move the COLA birthdate threshold a few years up rather than eliminate it — as has been done by agreement between city hall and the firefighters many times. My-way-or-the-highway in Springfield gets you the highway almost every time.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:40 am:

    === As people get out more and more now and witness first hand the decimation of store fronts and loss of businesses throughout the breath of the city I can only guess that Lightfoot’s poll numbers will slip further, rather than recover back to her election highs.===

    Gotta be honest, the more freedoms people are getting now might be a boost for incumbents going forward.

    Your take also means that Chicago, Illinois, America, the more we open, the worse things will be?

    Thought things were worse because we were closed?

    Dismissing our coming out of the pandemic as good for *any* incumbent might be a mistake


  6. - Danny Burnham - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:42 am:

    Nice poll for Lightfoot… except it doesn’t mention crime and violence. Highest murder rate since the mid 90s, public safety will be one of the key issues of the next campaign and what is Lori’s plan? I can’t name it

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-history-of-chicago-homicides-htmlstory.html


  7. - Victor - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:44 am:

    I am okay with the Mayor making a symbolic gesture of not subscribing to the Tribune. The Trib has always been hostile to the city political scene. Most of its roster of Editorial staff and Op-Ed have been people who don’t live in the city; opining on how the city should be run. I have always felt that if you cant vote in the City elections; shut the hell up. Especially people like Kass and McQueary, who I remember reading are not city residents.

    The Trib serves the suburbs, at least politically.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:46 am:

    === except it doesn’t mention crime and violence.===

    You think those polled forgot about… crime and violence?


  9. - Roadrager - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    It’s amazing how Lightfoot’s gone from winning every ward in the city to being maybe 50/50. The combination of bumbling and strong-arming has given the city a dumber version of the third Rahm Emanuel term no one wanted, minus anything that could have been accomplished through Rahm’s connections. And her administration was consistently two steps behind the state through the entire COVID response. She’s proven the outsider/reformer posture to be a weak sham.

    Her chance at a second term right now mainly comes from a lack of competent opposition. If whatever’s left of the Machine coalesces around some guy who “knows how to get things done,” that’s bad news for her, and probably for the city as well. But if all she has to face are circus acts like Willie Wilson and Ray Lopez, she’ll have another four years to figure out how to do her job.


  10. - cermak_rd - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    I can’t blame her for cancelling the Trib. They’re editorial board is the worst.

    Responsa, what makes you think most people will care about closed businesses? If they’ve done without them for a year? I mean clearly the owners and the workers will miss them but the customers? Are there many that provide a unique service that one can’t get elsewhere?


  11. - Fly like an eagle - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:52 am:

    == Nice poll for Lightfoot… except it doesn’t mention crime and violence. Highest murder rate since the mid 90s==
    Increasing crime rate never hurt Richard J Daley. Don’t see why it will hurt Lightfoot.


  12. - cermak_rd - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    crime and violence

    The group most heavily affected by murders in the city (African Americans) would seem to support the mayor the most.


  13. - ddp76 - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 11:58 am:

    She did better than I expected. But a poll is not an election and no one is officially an opponent yet. I think. Leaders who are hard ***es don’t do as well these days imo. And creating an enemy in many interactions doesn’t bode well. I will be surprised if she is reelected.


  14. - ddp76 - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 12:01 pm:

    == Especially people like Kass and McQueary, who I remember reading are not city residents. ==

    Kass moved back into Chicago. I’m not sure why given his many dislikes of city government.


  15. - An observation - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 12:05 pm:

    Scroll through Twitter when the mayor makes news and you see an interesting dynamic: she attracts an equal amount of mindless trolling from both the far left and far right. I’m not sure there’s any politician in America besides maybe Andrew Cuomo who inspires vitriol from opposite extremes of the political spectrum the way she does.


  16. - Responsa - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    ==what makes you think most people will care about closed businesses? ==

    Michigan Avenue was iconic (for example) but the other unique neighborhoods too:
    -No rents to landlords who must pay mortgages.
    -Lessened property taxes from large amounts of vacant space.
    -Vastly lessened retail sales taxes to the city.
    -Hit as a World class city (lessened interest for tourists and concern about crime, so fewer dollars pouring in from beyond Illinois)
    -Thousands of boarded up ethnic and long time neighborhood restaurants that made Chicago a renown “food city” and destination. Some will reopen. Many won’t.
    Controlling crime will be a major challenge for Lori in order to address all of the above.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 12:14 pm:

    === Kass moved back into Chicago===

    Very few things make me laugh out loud when people “tell” me or “write” here the Kassian ridiculousness; The Chicago Way, Combine, and yet Kass coulda moved anywhere… but moved to Chicago.

    Kass plays the people as Proft tries and Statehouse Chick pushes.

    Ok… “to the post”,

    Truly the worst run Chicago Administration in decades, and that’s not hyperbole… no governing agenda that has governing levers used correctly… poor communications, an empty and pathetic attempt to try to influence in Springfield, heck, no Springfield plan that resembles reality thinking… an angry mayor, willing to be disgusted publicly about things that she can and does control… a mayor who now tries to govern far-far away from how she campaigned. If anything, the emails are the comically and galacticly ignorant to knowing things or knowing themselves as an administration…

    … yet…

    … not too bad numbers.

    This might be where a bounce begins, as things open, people’s lives become more normal, intruding to daily lives lessen.

    Still… you can have a bad candidate and win, a great candidate and lose, and having a good or bad campaign might not bring electoral success… and Lightfoot here… as truly gawd-awful she is and her administration seems to be running… still viable and swimming.

    The numbers aren’t her best, not her campaign or winning best, but they ain’t sinking her swimming.


  18. - RNUG - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 12:15 pm:

    A bit surprised she is doing that well in the polls. Means people are still willing to give her the benefit of any doubt at the moment. But I wouldn’t want to go into the next election in that position; I’d want a solid win or two between now and then. And fir that she’s going to need to learn to play the game of politics better than she has so far as Mayor.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 12:15 pm:

    ===Scroll through Twitter===

    Twitter ain’t real life.


  20. - cermak_rd - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===Scroll through Twitter===

    I don’t know DeBlasio comes close. In fact the best tweet I’ve seen sometime back was some thing like: Big city mayors seem to have added to their job description being hated by everyone.


  21. - An observation - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 1:15 pm:

    == Twitter ain’t real life. ==

    Agreed. Don’t think my post implied that it is. Just an observation on how the bomb-throwers from both sides share a similar view of Lori.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 1:16 pm:

    ===Just an observation on how the bomb-throwers from both sides share a similar view of Lori.===

    You expect twitter to be a friendly place for pols?


  23. - Back to the Future - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    Like her. Voted for her last time and happy to vote for her again.
    One thing I like about her is that her life story presents a real role model for young people. She overcame a lot of obstacles, showed how a good education can help you achieve success, worked her way up and is a passionate and honest elected office holder.


  24. - An observation - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 1:51 pm:

    == You expect twitter to be a friendly place for pols? ==

    Of course not. My point isn’t that she’s being vilified by trolls —that happens to everyone. it’s that she takes it equally from the left and right — that doesn’t happen to everyone. It’s an interesting phenomenon and it seems to occur outside of Twitter, too.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 1:53 pm:

    === that doesn’t happen to everyone.===

    Are you new to twitter?

    (Sigh)

    Good luck, happy Friday.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 1:54 pm:

    === It’s an interesting phenomenon and it seems to occur outside of Twitter, too.===

    Polling above water…


  27. - Victor - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 2:32 pm:

    ==Kass moved back into Chicago. I’m not sure why given his many dislikes of city government.

    ===

    Not true, it seems. At least according to his Wikipedia page.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kass

    Kass lives in the southwest suburb of Western Springs.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 2:36 pm:

    === Not true, it seems.===

    Think it was in Crain’s…


  29. - Responsa - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 2:37 pm:

    WBEZ’s reporting today on a (hacked) release of emails from within the the Lightfoot admin. There does seem to be organized effort out there to”get” Lori.

    https://www.wbez.org/stories/is-dumping-a-trove-of-hacked-government-emails-good-or-bad-for-democracy/aee0ece7-462c-4da1-b57b-13911b6c6088?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Web-Share


  30. - ddp76 - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 2:48 pm:

    Victpr, you can go update Wiki with this.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/john-kass/ct-chicago-living-kass-20200516-bbiem6j55jhwbkq37ru2yrbkla-story.html


  31. - AlfondoGonz - Friday, May 14, 21 @ 3:30 pm:

    Mayor Lightfoot has been a massive disappointment.


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