With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Monday, July 14, 2014

More polls now indicate Rahm can be had

Emanuel's weakness has been known for months—he lost the left ages ago, and has lost Chicagoans more generally over basic competence issues. In the Sun-Times, his response to the poll is an anonymous insult, "laughable." But this same pollster nailed the 2011 race, which Emanuel entered late and won. -- Politico
h/t Brother Fred
There should be no question now that even with his bloated war chest and friends in high low places, Mayor 1% is beatable in his run for re-election. Wednesday's Early & Often poll conducted by We Ask America, shows Karen Lewis and Toni Preckwinkle either leading Rahm head-to-head, or if several candidates run, at least forcing the mayor into a run-off where he would be vulnerable no matter who finishes second on the initial ballot.
  If the mayoral election were held today, the lightning rod union leader who was the architect behind a 2012 teachers’ strike would beat Emanuel by 9 percentage points in a head-to-head contest, the survey found. Lewis was leading Emanuel 45 percent to 36 percent with 18 percent of the likely voters undecided.
And Emanuel could face an even steeper hill if he faces Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, long considered his most formidable challenger. A head-to-head contest found Preckwinkle in a romp vs. Emanuel by a stunning 24 points.
And Ald. Bob Fioretti looks formidable as well at this early stage, in sight of Rahm, with a 30% poll rating.

David Weigel at Politico writes:
When a politico's first on-the-record response to a poll number is "wow," you know it's good for them. "Wow" is what Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, told the Chicago Sun-Times after being informed that she would easily lead Rahm Emanuel in a mayoral election. In an automated poll of more than 1,000 voters, Lewis led Emanuel by a 45–36 margin, cutting into every group that backed him four years ago. She trailed by only 3 points with white voters, led by 4 points with Hispanics, and led by 18 points with black voters—a margin that might increase if Lewis ran and black voters discovered that she, too, was black. And Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (a black woman, like Lewis) led Emanuel by 24 points.
I would keep this early poll in perspective. It's only a "snapshot in time," as E&O is quick to point out. But it is an indicator that even before any viable opposition candidate has announced or spent even one penny on the campaign, Rahm is in trouble. And despite his staffer's "entirely laughable" comment, he knows it. If he's truly laughing at the results, Rahm's in even more trouble than I thought.

Again, Politico:
Here's the twist, which doubles as the reason we know Emanuel's camp believes the polling. At the end of June, Emanuel supporters launched a super PAC (yes, super PACs for mayoral races) to vacuum up hedge fund money. It worked, and in 10 days Chicago Forward announced $1 million in funds—from just eight people. Hedge funder Ken Griffin, who had just given $2.5 million to a PAC for the (independently wealthy) GOP gubernatorial candidate, gave $150,000 to Emanuel.
Washington Post analyst Philip Bump, sounding a little pollyanna, tries to minimize the poll results:
The Democratic primary takes place in February 2015, during the winter, when the level of violence in the city will almost certainly have receded. 
First, Mr. Bump, there is no Democratic primary any more in Chicago. The machine got rid of that two decades ago after Harold Washington won it twice to become the city's first black mayor. Where have you been? Secondly, even an expected drop in the violence numbers (does anybody believe them any more?) won't likely make people forget what's happened here this summer. Not to mention the school-closing debacle which has devastated so much of the city's black community.

The poll offers at least Lewis and Fioretti (and less likely, in my opinion, Preckwinkle) an open invitation to enter the fray. So far, only Lewis has publicly announced her intent. But the interesting thing is that, in an election of this type, even two or three strong anti-Rahm candidates won't hurt each other as much as they'll hurt Rahm, because of the wider range of voters they can turn out, leading to a likely run-off when two enter and one leaves the ring.

Another interesting survey, conducted by MoveOn.Org, of its 75,000 left/liberal Chicago members, finds that 85% of them want to see a progressive challenger to Rahm Emanuel. If that number somehow translates into actual voters and a core group of campaign workers, it could be another real incentive to Lewis, Fioretti or Preckwinkle to announce.

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