Northwestern poll: Chicago race in dead heat

Associated Press
Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson, left, and Paul Vallas shake hands before the start of a debate at ABC7 studios in downtown Chicago, Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

The closely watched race for mayor in Chicago has Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas neck and neck with just a week to go before voting in the runoff election, according to a new survey.

The poll from Northwestern University shows Johnson and Vallas each with 44 percent support, with 12 percent of voters still undecided in the race. It suggests that the contest between Vallas, a former CEO of Chicago Public School, and Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and former teacher, may come down to the final days.

The survey of 1,500 city voters, which had a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points, found a sharp divide along racial and generational lines.

Vallas enjoyed a 31-point advantage with voters over 65 years old. Black voters broke by 27 percent for Johnson, while Latino voters supported Vallas by an 11-point margin.

Vallas and Johnson advanced to the runoff last month after a nine-person primary saw Mayor Lori Lightfoot become the first incumbent in the city to lose reelection in 40 years.

One of the main splits between the candidates is their approach to combating crime, with Vallas’s tough-on-crime platform pitted against Johnson’s proposals for police reform, which have been attacked as soft by some Democrats.

The survey was conducted before Vallas picked up the high-profile endorsement of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) this week. Durbin has represented the state in the Senate since 1997. 

“With his focus on safer neighborhoods, improved schools, and economic growth, I am proud to stand with Paul, and urge all Chicagoans to support his election on April 4,” Durbin said in his endorsement of Vallas.

Tags Brandon Johnson Chicago mayoral race Dick Durbin Lori Lightfoot Paul Vallas

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