Poll: Lightfoot, first openly lesbian mayoral candidate, tied in lead for runoff

Mon. February 25, 2019 8:35 PM by Brian Troutman

lori lightfoot speaking to voters - february 14

photo credit // lori lightfoot (facebook)
Chicago, IL - A political bombshell exploded on the eve of election day in Chicago's mayoral race with the release of a new poll showing political outsider Lori Lightfoot surging to the front of the pack alongside established politicos Bill Daley and Toni Preckwinkle. 

The new poll, conducted February 22-24 from left-leaning Change Research, put the three each at 14 percent in a race almost certainly headed to a runoff. Trailing the front-runners, Suzanna Mendoza comes in at ten percent, while the remaining ten candidates register in the single digits. In a head-to-head competition, Lightfoot leads both Preckwinkle and Daley, while Daley leads Preckwinkle when voters are forced to choose in a hypothetical runoff. 

"We're the campaign with momentum heading into Election Day—and we have what it takes to win this race," Lightfoot wrote in an email to her supporters. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our city, and we can't let up now." 

Lightfoot, who would become the first LGBTQ person and first black woman to serve as mayor if elected, most notably served as the President of the Chicago Police Board from 2015 to 2018 where she led a 9-member independent civilian body charged with deciding disciplinary matters involving allegations of police misconduct.

Previous polls had shown Lightfoot in a close race but trailing Preckwinkle and Daley. Preckwinkle has been a staple in Chicago politics for decades. She currently serves as the Cook County Board President and Democratic Party Chair. Daley's political experience comes largely from his time in Washington serving under two Democratic administrations. He was Bill Clinton's Secretary of Commerce from 1997-2000 and Barack Obama's Chief of Staff from 2011-2012.

The Change Research poll also revealed the city's financial stability is a top concern in the election, cited by 18 percent of the poll's 706 likely voters. Female voters identified crime (19%) and gun violence (19%) as the most important issues while male voters selected city finances (23%) and property taxes (16%) as their most pressing concerns.

The poll was commissioned by Democratic consulting firm 270 Strategies. It has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The heaviest period of voting occurs between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

For more information on voter registration in Chicago, see ChicagoElections.com, or call (312) 269-7900.