Poll shows Chicago Mayor Lightfoot trailing two challengers in tough re-election fight

 February 9, 2023

Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing a likely tougher-than-anticipated re-election fight this month.

A recent poll showed the mayor was trailing behind two of her challengers, though the difference was within the statistical margin of error, the Tampa Free Press reported.

That statistical dead heat is no real comfort for Lightfoot, either, as other aspects of the poll held exceptionally bad news for her bid for a second term in office.

Mayor in third place

Chicago's WBEZ, in a joint effort with the Chicago Sun-Times, NBC5, and Telemundo Chicago, sponsored a survey conducted between Jan. 31 through Feb. 3 that included 625 registered voters likely to participate in the Feb. 28 municipal elections, with a margin of error of around 4 percent.

In a crowded field of nine mayoral candidates, incumbent Mayor Lightfoot drew just 17 percent support and trailed behind Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D-IL), with 20 percent, a former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, with 18 percent.

Rounding out the top five was businessman Willie Wilson with 12 percent and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson with 11 percent, while another four candidates garnered 2 percent support or less, and 18 percent remained undecided.

Low approval and favorability, city on the "wrong track"

The mayor's office may attempt to seek solace in the fact that the three top candidates are all within the 4 percent margin of error as well as that there remains a sizeable 18 percent of undecided voters, but there is little else in the poll that looks good for Mayor Lightfoot.

With regard to Lightfoot's job performance as mayor of Chicago, 61 percent of those polled disapproved, while 71 percent said the Windy City was on the "wrong track" under her leadership compared to just 23 percent who thought it was on the "right track."

As for the mayor personally, she is viewed favorably by just 22 percent of Chicago voters and unfavorably by 54 percent.

According to pollster Brad Coker, the combination of Lightfoot's low approval, high unfavorability, and the "wrong track" number all suggest that her path to re-election will be a tough one.

"Those don’t paint a pretty picture for an incumbent," the pollster said. "It’s hard to make the case for reelection when your numbers are that bad, and you’ve got so many people in the city -- and it’s across the board -- saying they don’t think things are going well."

Mayor's campaign confidently predicts victory

According to Fox News, however, Mayor Lightfoot's campaign has seemingly dismissed those poll results and issued a confident statement that told a completely different story.

"As we’ve shared transparently, our internal polling paints a distinctly different picture," the campaign said. "We fully anticipate winning this election, particularly once the voters learn all about the extremely troubling histories of Mr. Vallas and Mr. Garcia. Mayor Lightfoot has always been underestimated by pundits, and apparently, today is no different. See you on April 4."

Per WBEZ, if no mayoral candidate wins a simple majority of voters in the Feb. 28 election, the top two vote-getters will advance to a run-off on April 4, and judging by the outcome of this recent poll, regardless of the statistical dead heat, it looks like there is a real possibility that Lightfoot could be watching that run-off race from home as a non-participant.

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