Poll: Mayor Rahm Emanuel's support dwindles mid-term

May 15, 2013 (CHICAGO)

On the same stage on which he was sworn-in two years ago tomorrow, the mayor touted one of his signature accomplishments.

"Our children in the city of Chicago will for the first time going to get a full school day and full school year so they can live up to their full potential," said Emanuel.

Also, in his first two years, the mayor increased water rates to rebuild mains and sewers. He saved money by re-negotiating union contracts and putting garbage pickup on a grid system.

The red line reconstruction was approved and begins next week, when the cps board the mayor appointed will finalize plans to close as many 54 underutilized schools.

And soon, the City Council considers the mayor's "framework" to renovate Wrigley Field as well as a Mccormick Place site for a new basketball arena for Depaul University.

"I think he wouldn't take on these challenges if he didn't believe that the outcomes were where this city needed to go," said Tom Bowen, of Mac Strategies Group.

Until last January, public affairs consultant Bowen worked as a political adviser to the mayor.

"He understands that government can be too slow to get things done for people and that's where some of his impatience comes from," said Bowen.

Northeast University political science professor Robert Starks points to school closings, crime and unemployment as reasons for the mayor's falling approval rating.

A recent Tribune poll suggested sharply declining support among African-Americans, who gave Emanuel 59% of their vote in 2011.

"I think he's been extremely good for the corporate Chicago but he's been a disaster for inner city communities," said Starks.

The longest-serving city council member, 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke, doesn't put much stock in mid-term approval ratings.

"Look out for what happens next week and next month. It's a constantly changing and exciting environment," said Burke.

Bowen agreed, saying Emanuel's re-electability will depend on how the mayor's many initiatives pan out.

"Outcomes matter to voters much more than process," said Bowen.

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