Flash poll finds no clear favorite in Chicago mayoral race

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Before he leaves office, Chicago’s first Jewish mayor is trying to strengthen ties between the city and Israel. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

The dust has barely settled after Mayor Emanuel’s bombshell announcement, but a new telephone poll conducted Tuesday finds there is no clear favorite in the mayoral race.

The We Ask America poll, which collected 1,128 responses by calling both landlines and cellular phones, has former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy with 16.8 percent, followed by Willie Wilson with 15.1 percent and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas with 10.1 percent. Former police board president Lori Lightfoot had 9.6 percent.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, meaning McCarthy and Wilson were essentially tied, as were Vallas and Lightfoot.

Respondents were asked to choose from a list that included some — but not all — of the declared candidates, as well as some of the other big names rumored to be mulling a run.

Of those potential candidates: Valerie Jarrett, onetime adviser to President Barack Obama, scored highest, at 6.6 percent; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had 4.6 percent; and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza came in with 1.4 percent. But, again, the margin of error means Jarrett and Preckwinkle are essentially tied.

Others on the list include former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley, 1.8 percent; Chuy Garcia, 3.9 percent; Jerry Joyce, 3.2 percent and Ricardo Munoz, 1.4 percent.

Not every declared candidate was included on the list of names from which respondents could choose; 8.7 percent said they would prefer someone not on the list (but they weren’t asked who), while 16.8 percent said they were undecided.

Poll respondents also were asked about Emanuel’s job performance; 43.1 percent approved, 42 percent disapproved (essentially a tie) and 14.9 percent saying they had no opinion.

The poll also asked whether it would be harmful or helpful for Emanuel to endorse a candidate. About 45 percent said they would be less likely to support a candidate with an Emanuel endorsement. About 33 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference.

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