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Emanuel leads field, but poll points to runoff

Mayor Rahm Emanuel may be sitting on a huge pile of campaign cash and getting the endorsements of 15 labor unions, but a new poll points to potential trouble ahead in his re-election bid.

A Chicago Tribune poll released Thursday morning shows while Emanuel has a double-digit lead over his nearest challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, he falls significantly short of the 50 percent-plus-one majority he needs to avoid a runoff.

The poll, which was conducted among 708 registered voters who said they were voting in the Feb. 24 election, has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 42 percent say they’re supporting Emanuel
  • 18 percent for Garcia
  • 10 percent for Ald. Bob Fioretti
  • 7 percent for Willie Wilson
  • 2 percent for William “Dock” Walls

Earlier this week, the candidates faced off in their first debate, where Emanuel fended off attacks from Garcia and Fioretti by going on the offensive. He blasted them for their previous support of a 1980s property tax hike, a tax-increment financing subsidy for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the parking meter deal.

On Friday, they’ll debate at the Sun-Times.