Rahm's leaving. Now what?


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bombshell announcement yesterday that he would not seek re-election put an electric charge into the city’s political nervous system. It’s way too early to predict what will/could/should happen, but it’s never too early to dip our polling toes into Chicago’s political waters for an electoral litmus test. So, last night we called 1,128 likely voters to see if there’s a pattern in the political tea leaves. The short answer: not really. This is anyone’s game, and as a wizened political observer just mentioned to us, this could be the most competitive Chicago Mayoral race since 1983. Click HERE to see our topline results. Here are a couple of observations:

  • Voters are showing preferences, although our educated guess is that few are locked in to their choices.

  • Garry McCarthy had the strongest showing, albeit at a 17 percent clip—followed closely by Willie Wilson and Paul Vallas.

  • Candidates not listed in the results were lumped together in the OTHER CANDIDATE result.

  • Mayor Emanuel’s job approval rating was a split decision—a phenomenon probably attributable to his announcement that he would not seek re-election. A more significant finding can be found in the question pertaining to the possibility of him backing a ‘hand-picked’ successor. Nearly 79 percent said he would either have no effect or a negative effect on whether or not voters would support him or her.

  • The big names added to the mix (Toni Preckwinkle, Susana Mendoza, Bill Daley) barely blipped the radar screen.

It’s a long, long way to go, and this early test shows that. Where is the smart money going to land? Who will the insiders’ choice be? Who is lurking out there to pounce and make themselves available? Time will tell. And so will we. Watch for crosstab info tomorrow.

This poll was conducted by calling random phone numbers of likely voters from our proprietary voter database. Calls were conducted both by live interviews to cell phones and automated calls to landlines.      

Election, PollingEvan Walker