6 Two 3 Nine

Expert Unexpert Advice

Rahm Inching Towards Majority, Braun Doesn’t Break $1 mil

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Plurality

New poll, pretty much same as the last, save for a surge for Chico.  Maybe enough to make him competitive with Braun for 2nd, but probably not.

Rahm Emanuel is closing in on the majority he needs to end the mayor’s race next month and avoid a one-on-one runoff, a new Tribune/WGN poll shows.

The former White House chief of staff had the support of 44 percent of those surveyed. Emanuel enjoys a wide lead among women and white voters and has substantial support among African-American and Latino voters.

Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and onetime Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico are battling for second place in hopes of advancing to an April runoff. But they also must stop Emanuel from getting more than 50 percent and winning outright on Feb. 22.

Braun had 21 percent support and Chico 16 percent, with City Clerk Miguel del Valle at 7 percent and 9 percent undecided. The poll of 708 likely registered voters was conducted Saturday through Wednesday and has an error margin of 3.7 percentage points.

If you don’t watch TV in the Chicago media market, Chico has been up on the air, with an ad so terrible you really have to ask “Why?” Rahm’s ad buys seem to be amping up heading into the election, but considering he’s been in the 40-45% range for a month or so, it sure seems like the impact of his ads has already been priced into the polls.  The wild card would be if Carol Moseley Braun goes up on the air, but that is seeming…unlikely.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has a huge money advantage over his rivals in the race for Chicago mayor, financial reports filed Thursday show.

Emanuel started January with $8.3 million on hand, whereas former Chicago schools president Gery Chico had $2 million as of Dec. 31, according to reports the campaigns filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun has about $125,000 on hand, her spokeswoman Renee Ferguson said.

We’re reaching the point where the question is about ground game, turnout rates and voter enthusiasm.  As there hasn’t been a competitive mayoral election in over 2 decades in Chicago, it’s hard to say how that’s going to work out.

Going off of my completely uninformed gut, these are my guesses: Rahm’s going to have a hell of a GOTV operation.  There’s no way an old campaign salt like him overlooks the importance of that.  I’d imagine the same is true, but to a much lesser extent, for Braun.  That said, she doesn’t have a lot of money, so she’s going to depend on having a lot of volunteer support (or maybe help from whoever is paying her 4 mortgages).  The Chico campaign has never been kicking on all cylinders, gotta assume that trend is going to continue.

So if we assume that undecideds are less likely to vote come election day, and instead make up about 6% of the final electorate, that moves Rahm up to 45% just by shrinking the voter pool.  There are about half as many undecided whites as there are blacks, but historically whites vote more than blacks, so let’s say out of the 6% undecideds who end up voting, 3% black, 2% white, 1% hispanic.  I’d say from that we could assume they’d break 3% Rahm, 2% Braun, 1% Chico.  So Rahm’s at 48%.  Ground game could put him over the top.

So 50% on election day is within striking distance, but it’s hard to say how close it is without crosstabs that show enthusiasm.  I have to guess that Braun’s supporters are the most enthusiastic, as they’ve come to her despite the fact she’s done very little to actually attract them (meaning they’re not passive voters).  I guess we’ll see.

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