M. Harris & Co.
Candidates 2.jpg

March 2019 Poll Results

Candidates Lori Lightfoot (left) and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle spar during the March 7 mayoral runoff forum that aired on WMAQ-Ch. 5 and Telemundo Chicago. The two will face off in an April 2 election. (Video Screengrab)

Temkin/Harris Poll: Lori Lightfoot Dominates

For the fourth Temkin/Harris Poll in partnership with Crain's Chicago Business and WTTW News, we polled 500 likely voters via phone March 18-20. Polling likely (vs. registered) voters allowed us to handicap the mayor's race as accurately as possible; it also raised the cost of the poll considerably.

Here are the Top 4 headlines:

1. The Mayor’s Race: Lightfoot is in Command

Our poll suggests a 36-point margin of victory. However, our pollster, Jill Normington, warns that the margin will not be that wide. First, because "those kinds of dominating victories are extremely rare," she said. Second, because the undecideds are likely to break more for Preckwinkle.

The undecideds are "more likely to be black or under age 50," Jill said. "Both of those groups are stronger supporters of Preckwinkle than the overall electorate indicating that she has more room to grow among the votes that are left."

2. The biggest difference between a Lightfoot and Preckwinkle voter? Race.

"The biggest divide in the mayoral race is race," Jill said. "White voters support Lightfoot 64 to 13 (for and "lean" Lightfoot vs. for and "lean" Preckwinkle), while black voters support her 41 to 21. She leads among both constituencies but truly dominates among white voters."

3. We know tax increases are coming. So what are Chicagoans willing to pay more taxes for? 

Based on the percent who strongly agree, Chicago voters are willing to pay more taxes for schools (48%), mental health (48%) and roads, bridges, water pipes (44%).

They are less willing to pay more taxes for pensions (31%) and police (29%).

The police number is stunning, especially given previous Temkin/Harris Polls found crime to be a top concern and the police department to be viewed favorably. (Prior results can be accessed through the “Polls” drop-drown menu.) Another reason to worry about this number is the fact that, as reported in the Sun-Times, UofC crime expert Jens Ludwig recently told the City Club that hiring loads more cops is one main spending option that helped New York City reduce homicides. New York City increased its police ranks from about 30,000 to 40,000 in the 1990s.

4. If Rahm Emanuel were running for re-election, would you vote for him? 

This should explain why the mayor did not run.

Questions? Contact Melissa Harris at melissa@mharris.com.