Poll: Emanuel enjoying large lead in mayor's race

January 21, 2011 3:37:08 PM PST
A poll released recently indicates Rahm Emanuel is maintaining a double-digit lead in the race for mayor of Chicago.

The Tribune poll puts Emanuel's support at 44 percent, which is not far from a majority.

Candidate Carol Moseley Braun is running second at 21 percent, followed by Gery Chico who has 16 percent and Miguel Del Valle at 7 percent.

William "Dock" Walls has 2 percent support, and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins has 1 percent.

Nine percent of voters polled were undecided.

The survey's shrinking number of undecided voters is a cause for growing concern among those reportedly trailing Emanuel.

The survey suggests Chicagoans are making up their minds well ahead of Election Day.

An upbeat, front-running Rahm Emanuel toured a North Side dental equipment factory Friday before being asked if he thought he could win 50 percent of the vote plus one to be elected mayor after the first round on February 22.

"I'm not here to talk about a strategy, I'm here to talk about a strategy for the future of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said. "Regardless on February 22nd, the goal is to make sure people know where I stand on the issues."

Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, who the Tribune survey said trails Emanuel, was unavailable for comment.

Former school board president Gery Chico called his 16 percent third-place ranking evidence of his increasing support.

"Last poll that paper did showed us at nine, now we're up to 16. We've only been on TV a few days, so we're on the upswing," Chico said.

Required election board reports filed Thursday showed Emanuel had raised $10.6 million for his campaign, three times as much money as the five other candidates combined.

At least 40 percent of the Emanuel cash originated outside the city from the suburbs and from as far away as California.

Candidate Miguel del Valle, endorsed Friday by Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, warned Emanuel's huge campaign war chest could lead to corruption.

"Pay to play happens when big contributions are made and something is expected in return," Del Valle said.

Emanuel was asked if his out-of-city contributors, who include Steve Jobs of Apple and Eric Schmidt of Google, expected anything from him.

"I will be calling on those individuals to join Chicago and invest in Chicago's future," said Emanuel.

And a surprise in the campaign finance reports: little-known candidate Patricia Watkins told the election board she had $360,000 on hand at the beginning of January.

Poll runner up Braun reported having only $164,000 left to spend on the rest of the campaign.

The candidates have raised money since the first of the year, and those amounts are not necessarily included in the reports released Thursday.

Emanuel was the only mayoral candidate who attended Mayor Daley's dinner Thursday for the Chinese president. The mayor is said to have paid very close attention to who was invited to that event.