CHICAGO - A new poll shows that several incumbent Aldermen in Chicago are in trouble, and that a hypothetical Republican candidate for mayor is only six points behind Karen Lewis.
The poll conducted August 8-10 on behalf of the Chicago Republican Party tested the effect of adding a "qualified Republican" to the mix in the mayor's race and in a number of Aldemanic races. In some wards an unnamed, hypothetical Republican was a strong contender for Alderman.
In Chicago's 43rd Ward, for example, incumbent Michele Smith was the choice of 37.3% of voters and a "qualified Republican" was only 13 points behind with 23.6%. 39.2% were undecided.
In other wards, the undecided vote was high enough that a Republican could be a contender. In the 2nd Ward, for example, a "qualified Democrat" gained 34.7% of the respondents, a "qualified Republican" gained 18.4%, with 46.9% undecided.
"Contrary to belief, voters in Chicago are open to a Republican if the right candidate emerges," said Chris Cleveland, Vice Chairman of the Chicago GOP. "In the 43rd Ward, an unnamed, hypothetical, invisible Republican is running only 13 points behind the incumbent. The incumbent is below 40%, which usually means deep trouble. With a serious candidate and a little money, we're looking at a strong possibility of a win. In a general election, Republicans get 40% of the vote in the 43rd Ward."
In the 45th Ward, incumbent John Arena was the choice of only 26.9% of respondents, while Chicago Police Lieutenant John Garrido took 17.9%.
In the Mayoral election, Rahm Emanuel took 33.9%, Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis took 20.6%, and a "qualified Republican" took 14.3% with 31.3% undecided. These numbers square with earlier polls, although no polls to date have tested the word "Republican".
"This is an anti-incumbent year," said Cleveland. "A strong Republican could make the runoff, and then anything could happen." Republicans have been elected Mayor in recent memory in other major American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
"It's amazing that an unnamed, hypothetical Republican is only 6 points behind Karen Lewis and 15 points behind Rahm Emanuel," said Cleveland. "This is a year in which Mr. None-of-the-above could win. It's a real opportunity for Republicans."
The automated poll was conducted by Ogden & Fry. The Mayoral poll had a margin of error of +-2.9%. The margin of error in aldermanic polls was between 3.7% and 4.6%.