New poll shows Anita Alvarez leading in race for re-election

Sarah Schulte Image
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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A new poll shows Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez leading in her race for re-election.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new poll shows Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez leading in her race for re-election.

The Chicago Tribune poll of 968 registered Democratic voters in Cook County found that despite dissatisfaction over Alvarez's handling of the Laquan McDonald case, 34 percent of voters support her.

Challenger Kim Foxx is second with 27 percent, followed by 12 percent for Donna More. 26 percent are undecided. The poll has a margin of error of just over 3 percent.

After weeks of endless criticism over the way she handled the Laquan McDonald case, Anita Alvarez still has the edge in the race. In a letter to her supporters, Alvarez calls her 7-point lead "good news" However, her opponents view the lead as a small one that Alvarez has time to lose.

More trails by 12 points, and Foxx by 7. But both Cook County state's attorney candidates believe a Chicago Tribune poll showing incumbent Anita Alvarez with a lead is good news for them.

"I think we are within striking distance. This is a two-term incumbent who has almost universal name recognition who is only 7 points ahead," Foxx said.

"The numbers clearly show Anita Alvarez is in trouble. It also clearly shows there is a tremendous opportunity with undecided voters," More said.

It's an opportunity that may be tough for More and Fox. While the poll shows 26 percent of voters are undecided, it also shows that both challengers have problems with name recognition. Half of voters surveyed have never heard of More, and a third of Foxx's base, African American voters, have not heard of her.

"Clearly the African American community plays into this, but they are not the whole race, so we are reaching out to voters across the county," Foxx said.

"I'm not excluding or giving up on any community. I think the African American community has been ill-served by all politicians, including African American politicians," More said.

With cable TV ads already beginning for More and a radio ad for Foxx, both candidates plan to hit the media hard over the next six weeks to gain some name recognition.

Alvarez's handling of the Laquan McDonald will be a central theme. For Alvarez to hang on to her lead, she must win two voter groups.

"If she can get most of the suburban white voters and the Latino vote, she can win," said Laura Washington, ABC7 political analyst.

Anita Alvarez was unavailable for an on camera interview Tuesday. She released a statement saying she believes voters in coming weeks will continue to see her record of reform, independence, and passion of standing up for victims as a clear choice over the other candidates.