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Poll shows Garcia with huge lead among Latinos

Latino voters overwhelmingly support Jesus “Chuy” Garcia over Rahm Emanuel in the race for mayor, but a majority of those same potential voters also say neither campaign has reached out for their support, according to a new poll.

Among 406 registered voters, 61 preferred Garcia, while 18 percent favored Emanuel, according to the poll, which was conducted March 16-20.

RELATED: Emanuel has 16-point lead over Garcia in latest Ogden & Fry poll

But 65 percent also said no one from a campaign, party or community organization had asked them to vote or register to vote in the upcoming election. The poll was conducted by Latino Decisions and co-sponsored by Latino Policy Forum, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities and Univision Chicago.

“There is an untapped great opportunity for both campaigns,” said Oscar Chacon, executive director of National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities.

Latinos represent about 17 percent of the city’s registered voters.

“We know that this is likely to be a very close and competitive election,” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of Latino Policy Forum. “That 17 percent of Chicago’s electorate can make a difference.”

The Latino Decisions poll results were made public a day after an Ogden & Fry poll showed Emanuel with a 16-percentage-point lead over Garcia. But that poll pointed out that turnout and the under-polling of the Hispanic vote are factors to consider.

The top two issues for Latino voters were education and crime, with immigration rounding out the top five, according to the Latino Decisions poll.

When asked who would do better promoting economic development downtown, 46 percent favored Emanuel, while 35 percent favored Garcia. But when asked who would do better improving schools for K-12 students, 61 percent favored Garcia, with only 19 percent opting for Emanuel.

Interestingly, when asked about Emanuel’s job-approval rating, the vote was almost evenly split, with 18 percent strongly approving and 23 percent strongly disapproving. Another 26 percent somewhat approved of his performance, while 28 percent somewhat disapproved of his work as mayor.

The poll has a margin of error of 4.8 percent.

Discussing the results of the poll were (from left): Sylvia Puente, executive director Latino Policy Forum; Oscar Chacon, executive director the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities; and Jamie Dominguez, political science professor, Northwestern University. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times

Discussing the results of the poll were (from left): Sylvia
Puente, executive director Latino Policy Forum; Oscar Chacon,
executive director the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean
Communities; and Jamie Dominguez, political science professor,
Northwestern University. | Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times