6 Two 3 Nine

Expert Unexpert Advice

New Poll – Rahm 39%, Carol Moseley Braun 12%, Chico 9%

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Bright side – if Danny Davis and James Meeks both get out, all of their supporters go to Carol Moseley Braun, and she then gets all of the undecideds, she’s got a clean 4% on Rahm.  No problem, right?


Just like the last poll, Rahm leads in all racial demographic groupsAfrican-Americans split 31.7% Rahm, 20.4% Braun, 13% Davis, 9% Meeks.  Hispanics split 28.4% Rahm, 22.1% DeValle and 17.4 for Chico.  Whites split 52.1% Rahm, 11.5% Chico.

It seems fairly clear that Rahm’s going to get the most votes in February.  Barring something happening that completely changes things, that should be a walk.  The bigger question is if he crosses 50%.  If he does, game over, he’s the new mayor.  If he doesn’t, then there’s a runoff against whoever comes in 2nd.

Unfortunately the crosstabs they give are incomplete, so there’s not a lot of info to divine who exactly these undecided voters are.  We know they’re disproportionately from the North Central Wards (but more or less evenly distributed), we know they’re disproportionately young, and we know that they don’t like answering questions about their race.

If you don’t like Rahm, it seems like it comes down to Chico and Braun.  With Braun, you have to assume she’ll be able to peel off some African-American support from Rahm.  If he gets knocked down to 20% of the African-American vote, that could definitely make an impact on Rahm’s ability to avoid a runoff.  Where things get tricky for Braun is if Davis or Meeks step aside to avoid splitting the African-American vote.  Although on its face one would assume their votes would head towards Braun, Rahm’s shown an ability to attract African-American support.  Every vote for Davis and Meeks is a vote that doesn’t get Rahm 1 vote closer to 50%.  As it seems unlikely at best that Braun could get 50%, after she gets 1 vote ahead of whoever comes in 3rd all that matters is that other votes don’t go to Rahm.  That is to say that if Davis dropped out Braun could get 99.9% of his support and she still would have been better served by him staying in.

Chico’s situation is a bit more unique.  Other than Rahm, Chico’s got the most cross-racial support.  It’s possible he could leverage his support from white voters to make an electability argument to DeValle supporters, which could put him in striking distance of coming in 2nd in February.  He’s done a good job getting penetration with his platform, which could explain his success with white voters.  The strength of his position is that he seems to be the top alternative to Rahm for white voters, if Rahm stalls at any point, he’s positioned to get some runoff from Chicago’s largest racial demographic.  He also doesn’t share Braun’s problem with Davis and Meeks.  Chico’s got 5 points on anyone else (who isn’t Rahm) amongst whites, so every vote he picks up in that demo is probably a Rahm vote.

What will be interesting to see is what happens when Chico and Braun start balancing taking down Rahm with trying to make sure they wind up #2.  At a certain point they’ll start undercutting each other at every opportunity, which they both have to realize could hand 50% to Rahm.


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