Pollster: â€œThe South Side Black community will determine this raceâ€
By Chinta Strausberg
A poll of 806 likely voters commissioned by mayoral hopeful Dr. Willie Wilson Wednesday showed in a one-one-race with the other mayoral candidates, Wilson would be the only one who could defeat Mayor Rahm Emanuel and that the African American south side voters will most likely decide the winner.
At a press conference held at his downtown home, Wilson, who was joined by pollster Rod McCulloch, president of Victory Research, Rev. Greg Livingston, his campaign manager, Matt Harrington, one of his senior advisers who is also Naperville Township Republican Committeeman of the 34th Precinct and others, said the poll is â€œgood newsâ€ and one that is void of any mayoral influence with the media.
McCulloch conducted the poll from February 13-15, 2005 among 806 likely voters. â€œThere is likely to be a run-off because it doesnâ€™t appear that the mayor will reach the 50 plus one, but the lower the turnoutâ€ the mayor could win.
The poll asks that if the election for mayor of Chicago were held today, for whom would you vote?
Of the 806 people polled, 41.3% voted for Emanuel, 9.8% for Fioretti, 15.8% for Garcia, 14.6% for Wilson and 17.1% undecided. In the black community of 322 voters, 32.3% voted for Emanuel, 7.5% for Fioretti, 5.3% for Garcia, 31.4% for Wilson, 2.2% for Bill Walls with 21.4% undecided.
But, if there is a run-off between Emanuel and Fioretti, the pols showed 46.0% voted for Emanuel, 21.2% for Fioretti and 32.8% undecided
If the run-off were between Emanuel and Garcia, the mayor received 45.7% to Garciaâ€™s 32.6% with 21.7% undecided.
And, if the run-off were between Emanuel and Dr. Wilson, the mayor received 47.3% to Wilsonâ€™s 34.1% with 18.6% undecided.
McCulloch said, â€œIt is bad news for a well known incumbent to get below 50%. It often happens in run-offs, if an incumbent is forced into a run-off, all the votes of the candidates will go to the runner up because they were not for the incumbent in the first place.â€
McCulloch said the area of the city that has the largest number of undecided voters and â€œwhere the mayor has the lowest amount of support are the African American South Side wards.Â In those wards, Mayor Emanuel has 31.4% and undecided 29.7 percent.â€ â€œThis is the area that can decide the race,â€ he told this reporter. â€œThese are the voters Mayor Emanuel is hopingâ€ to win over by bringing in President Obama who came Wednesday to declare Pullman a national monument.
Reminded that While President Obama came to Chicago for former Gov. Pat Quinn and that didnâ€™t help him win the election, McCulloch disagreed.
But on this mayoral election, he said,Â â€œOn the South Side in the African American wards is the largest number of undecided voters almost 30 percent. That is also the area where the mayor is least popular. He only has 31.4 percent.â€
McCulloch feels that may be why the President chose that area to visit because â€œI think that will determine who wins that 30 percent, Dr. Wilson or Mayor Emanuel. If Dr. Wilson does, there will be a run-off.â€
Matt Harrington, a senior adviser to the Wilson Campaign who is also the Naperville Township Republican Committeeman of the 34th Precinct, said, â€œif there is a run-off â€œhead-to-head only Dr. Wilson can beat Rahm Emanuelâ€¦.â€œ
Wilson said he has been reaching out to the Polish community and other ethnic areas because he wants his administration to be inclusive.
Asked by this reporter the outcome of his recent meeting with the Republicans, Wilson said it went well. â€œIt was very interesting. They have some of the same views I have in terms of taxes and business wiseâ€¦.Â I have no problem meeting with them,â€ Wilson said referring to Republicans.
â€œI think the mayor of a Chicago should serve all citizens regardless of what party they are associated with, and I took that chance because I know most African Americans are mainly Democrats but I still went out to the Republicans knowing that someâ€ blacks could cause him a few votes. â€œIâ€™m that type of person. I want everybody to be included into my administration.â€
Wilson said it was a good meetingâ€¦.Â â€œTo be honest with you, there are some good personalities, people who are Republicans. There are some good Democrats. Weâ€™ve must stop labeling people as party associations. We must look at all citizens from Chicago as one, not separate parties; so I broke rank.â€ Wilson said only one Democrat, Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-7th).
â€œWe know weâ€™re ahead,â€ said Wilson. â€˜We know that these polls are very favorable because we have not been bought.â€ Wilson accused the mayor of using his influence with the media even to the point where he says Emanuel allegedly calls stations and tells them what to do but wonâ€™t talk to beat reporters.
â€œOf all of the candidates, I could beat Mayor Emanuel one-on-one,â€ Wilson, said referring to the polls. â€œThe poll showed we are in a dead heat for second placeâ€¦. We also just started late December because the mayor was fighting us. We are doing very well.â€ Wilson said he has support among all races including the Indian, Asian community and whites. â€œIf there is a one-on-one between all the candidates, I am the favorite one who can beat him,â€ he said.
â€œWe are not taking anything for granted and will work hard to the last minute,â€ Wilson said also announcing his victory party will be held at the Swissotel, 323 E. Wacker Dr., which is next door to his downtown home.
â€œPeople play games with the polls,â€ Wilson said shrugging off the Chicago Tribuneâ€™s poll that claims Emanuel is â€œclosing in on majorityâ€ he needs to win the election.
Livingston said, â€œThe polls can either be used as a tool or a weapon. So many of these polls tend to neglect the black, he poor and minority communities are being used as a weapon against minority candidates because they try to influence and disenfranchise the voter by discouraging them to vote by showing these low poll percentages.
â€œWe had to do our own poll,â€ Livingston said. â€œ. These polls are tools to influence people not to vote thereby disenfranchising poor and oppressed people. We started later than anybody else because we were tied up by the mayor and the Board of Election. This shows we have tremendous momentum where everybody else is losing steam. We havenâ€™t even hit our peak yet. We are rising really fast, and weâ€™re going to be on Rahm Emanuelâ€™s heels before he knows it.â€
If there is a run-off, it would be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.