Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Approval Rating Sinks to 29 Percent

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Approval Rating Sinks to 29 Percent

Former Obama Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is running for re-election in the Windy City. But if new polls are any indication, his popularity rating has fallen through the floor.

A new poll published by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that only 29 percent of those Chicagoans polled would vote for Emanuel if the election were today, and only one in five say he is doing a better job than former Mayor Richard Daley–a mayor who decided not to run last time because he feared losing due to his poor ratings.

Mayor Emanuel, though, is furiously raising money and has a war chest of upwards of $7 million. But his fundraising has also raised eyebrows. The Chicago Tribune, for instance, noted that Emanuel is flying all over the world raising cash for his reelection campaign and billing the city for much of that travel.

Despite all that cash, though, the poll finds that Emanuel is not well liked by voters and many think that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle would be a very hard opponent for the mayor to beat.

“The mayor would get 29 percent of the vote to Preckwinkle’s 26 percent,” the Times reported. “The poll shows Lewis finishing third with 10 percent, followed by Fioretti at 5 percent and Shaw with 3 percent. An estimated 27 percent of voters interviewed were undecided.”

Emanuel’s approval rating has slipped especially among black voters.

One important voting block Emanuel has never been able to woo is the unions. When he won his first election, many of the city’s unions had lined up behind his opponent, Gery Chico. Even the city’s police supported Chico over Emanuel.

The unions still haven’t warmed to the former Obama man since his 2011 election. In fact, only a week ago Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said she has no intention of making contract negotiations any easier on Emanuel despite Emanuel’s upcoming re-election campaign next year.

“I’m not looking to make anybody’s election year easy at all, especially someone who doesn’t want to make our lives easy,” Lewis said on May 6.

However, Emanuel’s most threatening possible opponent, Toni Preckwinkle, has done little by way of fundraising and time is running out. Many feel she may not even run, and the Board Prez herself refuses to even hint toward a run. On top of that, the mayor’s other opponents don’t seem likely to be able to unseat him.

It may be that despite the mayor’s unpopularity, the combination of his campaign warchest, the possibility that his only real opponent may not run, and the low profile of the others opposing him may allow Emanuel to squeak by to re-election anyway.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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