Thursday, February 19, 2015

Big gap in turnout predictions. Are they looking at the same race?

Rahm hoping voters will stay home. 
“It's a slight increase in interest in the election,” said Chicago political consultant Don Rose, who is involved in the mayoral campaign of Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. “Everybody seems to be under the impression that this is going to be a low-turnout election. I am not sure of that.”
The Mayor's praying for a low turnout on Tuesday. As his people see it, that would be his only hope for avoiding a runoff and loss of control of the City and schools. If you believe the Sun-Times' Fran Spielman, Rahm may get his wish.
If early voting — or the lack of it — is any bellwether, Chicago could be headed for a record-low turnout in Tuesday’s election... Majority Hispanic wards that traditionally record the lowest election day turnout chalked up some of the lowest early vote totals. That can’t be good news for mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
But if you read Thomas Corfman at Crain's, you get a completely different assessment.
Chicago voter registration has risen 3.9 percent, to more than 1.42 million, since the November election, reaching the highest level in almost five years despite a mayoral race that has lacked fireworks.
Registration for the Feb. 24 municipal election has not only slightly surpassed 2011, when Rahm Emanuel first ran for mayor, but also has exceeded the 2012 presidential election that featured Illinois favorite son Barack Obama, according to figures compiled by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
Wow! Record high and record low. Are they both looking at the same race?

It's Spielman who sounds most bewildered by her own early voting data. She may be getting her information from machine ward bosses. But even if, she adds this:
 The biggest total was the 2,205 early votes recorded in the 19th Ward, home to scores of police officers, firefighters and teachers who are not enamored with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
 A close second was the 2,092 early votes in the 41st Ward, where homeowners have accused Emanuel of turning a deaf ear to their skyrocketing complaints about O’Hare jet noise.
My own opinion? Low turnout or high -- it all depends on who can turn out their base. I can't imagine that the undecideds are undecided about Rahm, It may be that he can be stuck in the 40% range whether the turnout is high or low.

Warren & de Blasio
Here's an intriguing assessment from today's Washington Post:
Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, has picked up the torch of the economic populist movement embodied by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Emanuel is being cast as part of the establishment that includes Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton and has been accused of being too cozy with Wall Street and big banks at the expense of average Americans.
There’s little doubt that Emanuel will finish well ahead of Garcia and three other challengers in Tuesday’s election. But polls show him at risk of falling short of a majority and being forced into a six-week runoff campaign, probably against Garcia. Liberal activists are relishing the opportunity to extend the race.


  1. Last year, Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign emphasized registration. It didn't boost the voter rolls much, but did offset the loss of as many as 100,000 voters as a result of a regular canvass by the election board.

  2. Yes Maricarda. But Quinn's problem was not with turnout in general. He just couldn't excite his base, even with Rauner as an opponent. He was outpolled in the state by Dem. Sen Durbin by a mile. In other words, Dems turned out, voted for Durbin and not for pension robber Quinn. Lesson should be obvious.


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