|Who thought it was a good idea for Toni Preckwinkle to duck the S-T debate?|
With all early polls showing Toni running far behind, you would think that there's no better place to be than in the home of the opposition, appealing directly to their base. But Toni backed away, lashing out at Lori as she ran for the door.
"Starting with the NBC debate Thursday night, we look forward to hearing corporate lawyer Lori Lightfoot defend her record representing a Wall Street bank accused of massive discrimination and of defending Republican politicians trying to hold onto their power," spokeswoman Monica Trevino wrote in a statement.There are plenty of valid criticisms of Lightfoot, but trying to make her look like the monied, Wall Street candidate was another misstep by Team Toni. That was Bill Daley. Daley and Preckwinkle outspent Lori in the first round by 3 and 4:1.
Preckwinkle has been the most aggressive and negative campaigner so far. It's a style that misreads the times we're in, and she's used it to whip up her Facebook supporters, lashing out with personal invective against Lori voters and neutrals. This has only helped her opponent look reasonable and likeable while further dividing Toni's base.
The latest polls show Preckwinkle trailing in every demographic. Lightfoot leads among women (60%) and men (56%). Lightfoot leads among all age groups: 54% of voters younger than 50; 55% of voters between ages 50 to 64, and 55% of those 65 and older favor Lightfoot.
Team Toni's response: They say that since the poll was paid for by the pro-school privatization group, Stand for Children, it can't be trusted. Their takeaway is that SFC supports Lori and therefore they produced the poll. The argument rings similar to the Sun-Times argument. Since S-T endorsed Lori, the debate must be rigged.
Actually, the polling was done by respected Democratic pollsters FM3. Their poll found that while both candidates are viewed favorably by a majority of voters, 64% view Lightfoot favorably and 53% have a favorable opinion of Preckwinkle. However, Preckwinkle also has a greater number of detractors. While only ten percent of voters view Lightfoot unfavorably, more than one-third have an unfavorable opinion of Preckwinkle (37%).
They might have had a point about SFC popularizing the poll results, except for the fact that SFC has every reason NOT to support Lightfoot. After all, like Toni, she's running on a promise to end charter school expansion and to support an elected school board.
There's also the problem for Team Toni that everyone now has done internal polling that could easily refute FM3's poll if theirs were divergent.
Team Toni says she's not running scared. She says she's prepared to debate Lori 5 more times, including in an event sponsored by the rival Tribune. But why? Remember, the Trib endorsed her opponent Bill Daley before he was knocked out of the race last week.
Strange game they're playing. May be time for Team Toni to retool.