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Poll: Undecideds ahead of Emanuel

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* A three-way race could send hizzoner to a runoff, according to a new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners for the Chicago Teachers Union

In a three-way contest among Emanuel, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, and 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, if the election were held today, Emanuel takes 33 percent of the vote; Garcia snags 18 percent, and Fioretti, 13 percent [with 36 percent undecided …]

When the race is narrowed to a head-to-head contest between Emanuel and Chuy, the race closes to only 5 points; 36 percent to Emanuel, 31 percent for Garcia, and 30 percent undecided. […]

By a more than a two-to-one margin, undecided voters view Rahm more unfavorably (62 percent) than favorably (26 percent). […]

Chicagoans are dissatisfied with the direction of the city with just 35 percent say things are headed in the right direction, while 50 percent say things are heading in the wrong direction, according to the poll.

That’s a lot of undecideds. Emanuel ain’t toast yet, but, man, if he’s really at 33 and 36 percent are undecided after almost four years on the job and most of those undecideds view him unfavorably, he’s starting to look just a wee bit crispy around the edges.

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 11:42 am


  1. I hear “anyone but Rahm” an awful lot. These results shouldn’t be a surprise.

    Comment by anon Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 11:49 am

  2. Real Chicago people do not like Rahm.

    Comment by William j Kelly Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 11:56 am

  3. This upcoming mayoral election is shaping up to be very interesting. These poll numbers are not surprising, but yet a majority of people I talk to write off Garcia like a fringe candidate. People always talk about “Rahm’s money” when saying he can’t be beat, but in my opinion, the money doesn’t have the same impact coming from a candidate that is as well known as Rahm. I suspect there will be a lot of negative mail flying over the next few months.

    Comment by Hacksaw Jim Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:00 pm

  4. You can’t beat something with nothing. Rahm will again have more than $10 million to spend, while his current opponents are essentially starting from scratch. The mayor is the heavy favorite unless something big changes.

    Comment by Snucka Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:01 pm

  5. Rahm = TOAST!

    Comment by Nikkyname Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:05 pm

  6. === You can’t beat something with nothing. Rahm will again have more than $10 million to spend, while his current opponents are essentially starting from scratch. ===

    If CTU decides to back Garcia to the hilt, this could get interesting. He won’t need to match Rahm dollar for dollar. But I agree that he would need enough money to get his name out there and spread his message (whatever that is)

    Comment by Hacksaw Jim Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:10 pm

  7. Meh, there hasn’t even been any substantial campaigning yet. Rahm probably still wins by 10%; Fioretti has no idea who he has donated to let alone a viable plan for the city (transaction tax? what a waste of time) and Garcia hasn’t outlined a platform, yet CTU endorses him?

    Geez, the entire thing seems like some sort of joke.

    Comment by PMcP Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:24 pm

  8. Dear Chicago self-proclaimed progressives: You have a real opportunity here to elect one of your own. Will you seize it or blow it?

    Comment by Ravenswood Right Winger Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:28 pm

  9. In the end rahm gets another 4 years.. its the safe vote for most Chicagoans..

    Comment by Not Rich Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:33 pm

  10. Where is William Kelly in that poll? Maybe he is still in the lobby looking for people to talk with.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:37 pm

  11. The bigger the field, the better Emanuel looks. When he starts to tell his story, his numbers will start going up again. The fact is, he’s got a good record and it’s strong enough to run on and win. None of the other contenders are in the same league.

    He’s starting from a low point though, and a run-off is a distinct possibility. On the other hand, you should be judged in part on who your enemies are, and Rahm’s enemies seem to come mostly from those whose plans include higher taxes and more spending. Do they represent a plurality in Chicago? I don’t think so.

    Comment by 47th Ward Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:41 pm

  12. ==undecided voters view Rahm more unfavorably (62 percent) than favorably (26 percent).==

    Wow! Rahm has to get that under control. If not, that could be the tell of the campaign.

    Comment by Toure's Latte Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:42 pm

  13. This presumes that there will be no African American candidate. I believe that Amara Eniya, although unknown, should have been included in the poll as she would likely receive a significant amount of AA votes.

    Comment by Namaste Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:47 pm

  14. Rauner got about 22% of the vote in Chicago. Let’s face it, that’s Rahm’s floor. He’s got several paths to build on that number too. As bad as these numbers are today, he is still the heavy favorite to win.

    Comment by 47th Ward Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:48 pm

  15. Rahm got in very easily and he has plenty of dough.
    Fioretti is not well liked (but, he’s not Rahm) and Garcia is kind of an unknown to most voters. It’s going to be an uphill battle for all 3. I live in the City and never hear a positive squeak about Rahm.

    Comment by Belle Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:48 pm

  16. All things considered, it’s probably even more in Chicago’s interest to vote for Rahm anyway since Rauner won. The polls are interesting but it’d be incredibly stupid to vote against Rahm considering the type of pull he’s going to have with the state now.

    Comment by PMcP Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 12:52 pm

  17. Lots of people don’t like Rahm, but we’re crazy to think Fioretti/Chuy have even a puncher’s chance at this thing. Karen Lewis stood a decent shot, but that was well before Rahm’s oppo team got a hold of her. Look at what they’re doing to Fioretti - and heavens forbid they debate. If he can reign in his smug a-hole routine even just a little bit, he will smoke them.

    This only looks like a race b/c Rahm is a jerk. No top-tier candidate means he’ll have to spend more, and it’ll take a little longer, than he likes, but this isn’t really a race.

    Comment by Former City Worker Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:04 pm

  18. Emanuel’s opponents don’t have to advocate more spending, just spending in a way that benefits more people - for example, spending $80 million in tax dollars to pay for services or pay down the pension bill instead of Emanuel’s plan to spend it to build a new basketball arena for a wealthy private university.

    Comment by OldSmoky2 Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:06 pm

  19. OldSmoky2, why would you spend McCormick Place bonds on CTU or FOP pensions? Wouldn’t you have to change a few state laws to do so? Does it make sense to have one separate unit of government borrow money long-term to pay for the short-term, day-to-day operations of a different unit of government? I don’t think so.

    Look, it’s OK to comment here even if you lack a basic grasp of municipal finance. All are welcome I suppose. But it helps if you try to do a little homework first. You’ll end up looking less foolish.

    Comment by 47th Ward Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:18 pm

  20. Anonymous, some people like to be anonymous and some people like to name names, see any names you recognize?

    Comment by William j Kelly Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:22 pm

  21. OK, I’ll grant you the plan was changed and it’s not $80 million in tax funds as originally proposed. Now it’s $55 million in TIF funds that’s going into the package, which includes the arena and a hotel. That’s still $55 million in property taxes that won’t be available for other needs in the city’s budget. With the money the city owes for pensions, that’s how I define “foolish.”

    Comment by OldSmoky2 Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:31 pm

  22. ===That’s still $55 million in property taxes that won’t be available for other needs in the city’s budget.===

    No, that’s still not right. The $55 million is the upfront cash generated by the TIF to be “paid back” over 30 or more years. In other words, you can’t count it as $55 million in a single year. It’s whatever fraction of $55 million that is being diverted into the TIF to finance the borrowing of $55 million.

    A year’s worth of mortgage payments doesn’t equal the total amount you borrowed for your house, right? It’s just a fraction. So the city isn’t going to save $55 million this year if it doesn’t finance the hotel project at McPier. It might save $1 or $2 million, but that would also be split by the city, county, schools, parks, and the other taxing bodies that get a share of property tax revenue.

    Stop believing the CTU talking points on this project. And stop reading Ben Joravsky too.

    Comment by 47th Ward Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:50 pm

  23. Chicagoans are afraid of the future and don’t believe Emanuel is going to make it better.

    Look. Since Old Man Daley, Chicagoans have become desirous of someone like him. His son was their solution and look at all the problems he had to deal with during his all this terms in office. Knowing there was a familiar family at the helm in the Loop is important for the Chicago psyche.

    Emanuel is making Chicagoans nervous. That is why he is polling like he is. I believe that it is time for a wealthy Chicagoan with the right connections to take it from Rahm.

    Comment by VanillaMan Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 1:55 pm

  24. William Kelly - Can’t say I know any of them personally. I do get the feeling you don’t like or care for them very much. So the same way I support Rauner and Rahm , I will now support them.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 2:21 pm

  25. VMan,

    No offense, but your take just seems super wrong.

    What Chicagoans you are talking to who are scared of Rahm for not being aligned with rich people enough?

    If people in Chicago are scared its because not enough is being done about crime and they don’t trust Rahms prescriptions for education reform, not because they are clamoring for Mayor Patrick Daley Thompson as a security blanket or dying to see a Pritzker or Crown in charge of things.

    I think Rahm will win this election just like the Daleys did. Voters will see it as the inevitable result and vote accordingly.

    Comment by hisgirlfriday Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 2:29 pm

  26. Anonymous, in that case may I might as well add john Wayne gacy and Richard speck to the list.

    Comment by William j Kelly Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 2:33 pm

  27. VMan, Rahm *is* a rich Chicagoan. Why pick a different one?

    Comment by Cheryl44 Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 3:41 pm

  28. 47th ward I think you have it wrong. $55 million is being taken out of the Near South TIF for land acquisition costs of the parcel where they are already in demo for the new hotel and event center. The city could have declared that $55 million a TIF surplus and sent the money back to the taxing agencies. They spent $8 million just relocating the Rees house.

    Comment by truthteller Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 4:20 pm

  29. Truthteller,

    They are borrowing $55 million to be paid in annual installments from property taxes in the Near South TIF. There isn’t $55 million sitting in the TIF, only enough for the annual debt payments, or 1/30th of $55 million less interest and fees. Declaring a surplus nets the County (and all of its taxing entities including the city of Chicago) 1/30th of $55 million in the current year and each year there after.

    We can debate whther this investment makes sense, but what we can’t do is spend money that doesn’t exist to balance the city’s budget. In this case, whatever funds could be declared surplus in the Near South TIF wouldn’t make a dent in the city’s gaping budget hole(s). If you consider that CPS is supposed to make a $600 million pension payment, and you might be able to get $2 million from the Near South TIF, well, you only need to find $598 million more.

    Sweeping all TIF surpluses will not solve the enormous budget problems facing the city. But it will stymie much needed development in the South Loop and elsewhere. Development that could generate more money tomorrow than you’re diverting today.

    Comment by 47th Ward Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 4:31 pm

  30. Sorry 47th, the money does exist now in the TIF. The Near South TIF is set to expire this year. It has an incredible balance as over 90% of most S. Loop property taxes have been paid into that TIF. Of course in the legislation they also gave themselves the ability to extend the TIF, but the money is there. And handing TIF money over to McPier to buy tax generating property and converting it to non-taxable hardly enriches the coffers. McPier is a city wide asset and the S. Loop area needs a neighborhood HS, those TIF dollars should have built that, and that would have kept families and their tax dollars in the city much more than a convention hotel and DePaul BB arena will.

    Comment by truthteller Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 5:36 pm

  31. ===the S. Loop area needs a neighborhood HS, those TIF dollars should have built that===

    That’s how CTU would spend it, that’s for sure. How’re you going to pay for the teachers in that new high school?

    Comment by 47th Ward Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 5:43 pm

  32. “Anyone But Rahm” would be 40% at this time.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 6:22 pm

  33. Anonymous is a raunerite? Definitely not voting for anonymous. After four years of Rauner’s lies and broken promises, Rauner’s supporters will need to be anonymous. LOL.

    Comment by admin Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 8:23 pm

  34. A write in vote for the fictitious “Tom Kane” (Kelsey Grammer) would be preferably to another four years of Rahmmie.

    Comment by Under Further Review Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 8:41 pm

  35. Rahm WAS in DEEP trouble when Karen Lewis was going to run. Now, and not dissimilar to Rauner, he will pump out SO much money into the Campaign for the February Vote that many of these 36% Undecideds will veer his way ultimately so that he’ll have at least a REASonable shot at sneaking by the necessary 50% mark to avoid a Runoff Election.

    Should that barely NOT happen, however, is when things would get REALLY interesting, and quite hairy for him, and he very well would NOT survive an April Vote, IF the 3rd Place Finisher passionately throws his weight and support behind Rahmbo’s Single Opponent at that point, whoever would emerge between Garcia and Fioretti…!

    Comment by Just the Way It Is One Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 9:14 pm

  36. Rahm has the 2010 Pat Quinn feel to me right now. Just like Quinn four years ago, his polling numbers are in the tank, but the voters have some sympathy for him given the fact he inherited a mess. And most similar to 2010 Pat Quinn, the electoral alternative doesn’t look too appealing. I guess there is more of a visceral dislike of Rahm right now among voters than there was for PQ four years ago, but the mayor should be able to erase that by out spending his opposition 25 to 1. Rahm will win, but no one is gonna be excited to vote for him.

    Comment by Tim Monday, Nov 17, 14 @ 9:58 pm

  37. You close a child’s school and make that child walk through terrible neighborhoods and they see a Rahm commercial and say, “Hey, maybe he’s not so bad after all.”

    A teacher who was told while working 12 hour days, that she gave her students “the shaft” is going to say, “I like this flier. Rahm’s the one for me.”

    A man whose brother is wondering the streets because they closed the mental health clinic where he used to get help is going to see a yard sign and say “That Rahm Emanuel sure is a good mayor.”

    Money can only do so much. It can’t erase four years of destroying the lives of poor and working families in this city for the benefit of a tiny segment of financial interests and wealthy developers.

    Comment by Carhart Representative Tuesday, Nov 18, 14 @ 8:19 am

  38. Yesterday, there was a memorial Mass for former Mayor Jane Byrne. There was an outpouring of affection during the services.

    I cannot imagine any journalist using the phrase an “outpouring of affection” to describe Rahm Emanuel in any context. It is not merely his policies, it is his style. He is not a likeable individual. He has raised and spent large sums of money to advance himself in politics. People who worked on his Congressional campaign on city time have gone to prison, but Emanuel claims not to know about their activities.

    Emanuel’s biggest enemy is Emanuel.

    Comment by Under Further Review Tuesday, Nov 18, 14 @ 9:38 am

  39. @VanillaMan:

    I would rephrase your statement:

    “Since Old Man Daley, Chicagoans have become desirous of someone like him. His son was their solution and look at all the problems he c-r-e-a-t-e-d during his all his terms in office.”

    Comment by Under Further Review Wednesday, Dec 3, 14 @ 3:29 pm

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