New poll forecasts trouble for Lightfoot’s reelection bid, how to help Turkey and Syria and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

SHARE New poll forecasts trouble for Lightfoot’s reelection bid, how to help Turkey and Syria and more in your Chicago news roundup
Mayor Lori Lighfoot, who pledged that the city will complete a citywide assessment of environmental and health impacts on neighborhoods that already have poor air quality and other pollution and that the findings from the research will be used to craft reforms.

Three out of five voters disapprove of the job the mayor has done in her first term and 71% think the city is on the wrong track, according to a Sun-Times/WBEZ/Telemundo Chicago/NBC5 poll of Chicago voters.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 46 degrees. Tonight will see a chance of rain and a low near 35. Tomorrow will be rainy with a high near 41.

Top story

Bleak numbers in new poll spell trouble for Lightfoot’s reelection bid

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection battle is clouded in uncertainty, her chances of beating either U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia or former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in a run-off appearing slim — and her prospects for even making it to the April election up in the air.

With the election less than three weeks away, three out of five voters disapprove of the job the mayor has done in her first term, more than half hold an unfavorable opinion of her and 71% think the city is on the wrong track.

Those are among the key findings of a Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ/Telemundo Chicago/NBC5 Poll conducted last week.

All falling within the poll’s margin of error, Lightfoot, Garcia and Vallas were essentially locked in a statistical dead heat when respondents were asked whom they would vote for if the Feb. 28 election were held today. Garcia led with 20%, followed by Vallas with 18% and Lightfoot with 17%. Businessman Willie Wilson trailed closely with 12% and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson with 11%. Just 2% said they’d vote for activist Ja’Mal Green, and 1% chose either Ald. Sophia King (4th) or state Rep. Kam Buckner. Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) drew no support. Another 18% said they were still undecided.

But with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points — and a large number of voters still making up their minds — there is no clear leader in the waning days of the February election.

The poll was conducted Jan. 31 through Feb. 3 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. A total of 625 registered voters were interviewed by telephone, all stating they were likely to vote in the Feb. 28 election.

Asked their opinions of some of the leading candidates, voters gave the highest marks to Garcia and Vallas — and dismal ones to Lightfoot.

The mayor was viewed favorably by 22% of likely Chicago voters — and unfavorably by a whopping 54%.

Our Tina Sfondeles and WBEZ’s Tessa Weinberg have more on the poll here.

More news you need

Elections 2023

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Chicago mayoral candidates (from left) Ald. Sophia King (4th), state Rep. Kam Buckner, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia participate in a mayoral forum today.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

This week, the Sun-Times is teaming up with WBEZ and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics to bring the city’s mayoral candidates together for two forums to answer your questions.

Watch today’s forum, featuring incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot and mayoral candidates Chuy Garcia, Paul Vallas, Kam Buckner and Sophia King, here.

Head to our site or tune into WBEZ 11 a.m. tomorrow for the second forum, featuring candidates Brandon Johnson, Willie Wilson, Roderick Sawyer and Ja’Mal Green.

A bright one

With West Side mural, Barrett Keithley aims to reflect positive vibe from Black barber shops

Barrett Keithley sees barber shops in the Black community as places to “get your news and meet your mentors,” places that “were and continue to be a real-life form of social media.”

Also, they’re “where you can be yourself,” says Keithley, 35, an artist who grew up in Morgan Park and remembers going to different barber shops as a kid.

“Whenever I walked in to a barber shop,” he says, “there was an immediate sense of respect and positivity.”

Keithley says that feeling is what he tried to convey with a mural he painted in November in the 5100 block of West Madison Street at Head Quarters Barber Academy and also near Adams Barber Shop.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

A new mural at 5131 W. Madison St., by artist Barrett Keithley to help promote a new Lyric Opera production.

It features a young person’s face and fists protruding from a tilted crown.

“Hopefully, the message being received is that, no matter what color, no matter what person you are, if you have a dream, put your crown on, and go get it,” Keithley says. “It ties into the barber shops because, when you go to a barber shop, the barber is there to make you look good and feel good.”

The artist says he hopes to inspire the “same confidence.”

For Kevin McIntyre, Sr., chief executive officer of the barber academy, the person “in the mural is looking up to the sky and, as we all know, the sky is the limit. I think that everyone who looks at it will be able to take something from it.”

Vanessa Lopez has the full story behind the mural here.

Want more public art stories? Check out our other newsletters and sign up for Murals & Mosaics — sent every Friday to your inbox.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

New Mexico is considering roasted chile as its official state aroma. What should Illinois’ official state aroma be?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What’s one way you comfort friends who are in a time of need?

Here’s what some of you said...

“When a friend needs help in time of need, I try to infuse some humor into the situation, sometimes self-effacing humor. There’s been much written about the value of humor in healing and I have found it to work more often than not, to cheer up a friend in need. Failing that, a good kick in the pants helps.” — Jeff Kwit

“Cook for them.” — Laurel Scott

“Sometimes all a friend needs is someone to listen and a big hug.” — Barb Frenzel

“Listen to them. With empathy.” — Debra R. Roberts

“Go the extra mile to comfort your friend by phoning him/her instead of texting. Body language of love helps in so many ways, too. If need be, take the friend out to get their mind off of the problem. A nice meal is a good gesture.” — Claudia Moon Zikuda

“Give them a neat pour of bourbon.” — Jason Jasz Huerta

“Give them space. Get them coffee in the a.m. Drop them a post or an email just to say hi. Plant some spring flowers when they don’t know — and then let them know they have a surprise in their flowerbed they should be looking for.” — Shelley Hamelen Wichert

“Bring them a casserole.” — Wesley Jacob Astor Paul

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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