CHICAGO —The election for Chicago mayor is exactly four weeks away. Both Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle are working to rally supporters in what is thought to be a close race.
But a new poll shows it may be shaping up to be a lop-sided contest.
One week after the initial city-wide vote, Chicago has its first snapshot of where the race stands.
A public opinion poll by the independent group Stand for Children Illinois found Lightfoot leading by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, 58 percent over Preckwinkle’s 30 percent, with 12 percent still undecided.
“We were kind of floored by this, that Lori Lightfoot has a commanding lead,” said executive director Mimi Rodman. “It’s still early. We’ve got plenty of time between now and April 2, but that’s where the voters are right now.”
The poll was conducted in the days immediately following last Tuesday’s vote.
Professor and long-time political observer Nate Marshall said it’s still too early to handicap the campaign.
“Polls are kind of deceptive at this point,” he said. “It’s a wide open race.”
A Chicago Tribune breakdown of voting in the wards shows that Lighfoot did well in the high turnout areas on the Near North Side, while Preckwinkle’s bastion of support is mainly in the wards surrounding South Shore. Willie Wilson garnered most of the support in traditionally black wards on the south and west sides.
“I suspect that Toni’s going to have a natural advantage there because she has name recognition, people sort of know her, most of the black wards she didn’t win she finished second in, so you would have to guess that that map favors her,” Marshall said.
Marshall said Lightfoot could run up big numbers in Lakeview and the surrounding communities on April 2.
“If I were running her campaign, I would worry less about currying favor in black wards where she ran third, fourth or fifth, and I would worry about actually sort of trying to double down in those places where she kind of won,” Marshall said.
Marshall added whichever way the working-class white wards on the Southwest and Northwest sides swing, could determine who replaces Rahm Emanuel on the 5th floor of city hall.
Lightfoot's supporters are very happy with the new poll, while Preckwinkle’s voters are dismissing it.
The candidates will have their first televised debate of the run-off race on Thursday. Until then they’re focusing on expanding their circles of support.
Tuesday Preckwinkle announced a listening tour. She’ll be holding “Talk with Toni” roundtable discussions in various neighborhoods.
In the meantime, Lightfoot is beefing up her field operations working to get her supporters to the polls.