JAN 05, 2023
Report: Chicago Index Poll shows Lightfoot in 4th Place in 2023 Mayoral Race
Garcia, Johnson, Vallas leading race for Chicago Mayor
The Chicago Index, a collaboration between The Daily Line and Crain’s Chicago Business, conducted its second administration of the 2023 Race for Mayor survey from November 29 through December 14, 2022. A total of 1,757 Chicago residents were surveyed from a variety of sources, including subscribers to The Chicago Index’s panel, members of The Daily Line Chicago, subscribers to Crain’s Chicago Business,and via digital engagement on social media platforms
Results were weighted on age, region, housing tenure, race, ethnicity, and gender, so the sample was consistent with the demographics of Chicago. The margin of error was +/- 3%.
The survey shows Mayor Lori Lightfoot trailing challengers Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Brandon Johnson, and Paul Vallas. Garcia and Johnson are tied for first place, each receiving 25% of the vote, while Vallas and Lightfoot received 15% and 11%, respectively. All other candidates received 5% or less of the vote.
Lightfoot and Garcia lead in familiarity, Johnson shows room for growth
Lightfoot and Garcia lead in familiarity, with 99% and 93% indicating they are very or somewhat familiar with them, respectively; however, while 94% are very familiar with Lightfoot, just 66% are very familiar with Garcia. A majority also indicate familiarity with Willie Wilson, Paul Vallas, Ja’Mal Green, Brandon Johnson, and Sophia King, with 88%, 79%, 58%, 53%, and 53% familiarity, respectively.
Familiarity with Lightfoot, Garcia, and Vallas was fairly consistent over various regions, racial and ethnic groups, and housing tenures. However, Vallas was considerably less familiar to Chicagoans under age 35 than to older residents. Johnson’s familiarity was less consistent; he was most familiar (64%) to the under 35 population, and far more familiar to renters than owners (61% vs. 42%). Perhaps most significant, though, is that he was considerably less familiar to Black respondents (44%) compared to others. As we will see in a later section, this is a critical voter bloc for him to increase his name ID and support within.
Garcia, Johnson, and Vallas lead current ballot, followed by Lightfoot
When asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, Garcia and Johnson are tied for first place, each receiving 25% of the vote, while Vallas and Lightfoot received 15% and 11%, respectively. All other candidates received 5% or less of the vote. Just 7% are undecided and 1% said they would not vote for any of the candidates.
Not unexpectedly given the variation in neighborhood demographics, there are considerable differences in vote choice from region to region, with Vallas leading only in the Central region (31%, nearly tied with Garcia’s 28%), Johnson leading in the Far North Side, South Side, and West Side, and Garcia leading on the North Side and Southwest Side.
Notably, Garcia holds a commanding lead among Hispanic residents, with 42% of the vote, compared to 25%, 10%, and 5% for Johnson, Vallas, and Lightfoot, respectively. Johnson, on the other hand, holds a significant lead among Asian residents, with 37%, compared to Garcia’s 26% and Lightfoot’s 17%. However, Lightfoot still holds the lead among Black residents (24%) with Garcia and Johnson practically tied (16% and 15%, respectively). Similarly, Garcia and Johnson are tied for first among White residents, with 27% and 26%, respectively. Paul Vallas is not far behind, with 20%.
As with familiarity, Johnson has a strong lead among residents under age 35, with 44% of the vote, outperforming Garcia by 18 points. Lightfoot comes in 5th place among this population, with just 5% of the vote. On the other hand, Garcia leads among residents aged 35-54, and Vallas very narrowly leads Garcia and Lightfoot among residents aged 55+.
Finally, Johnson also dominates among renters, with 35% to 25%, 10%, and 8% for Garcia, Lightfoot, and Vallas, respectively. Among owners, Garcia and Vallas are within the margin of error for first place (26% and 23%, respectively), followed by Lightfoot and Johnson, who are also practically tied (13% and 12%, respectively).
Chicagoans are most willing to vote for Garcia, but Johnson again shows room for growth
Garcia was the only candidate who a majority of respondents (58%) are very or somewhat willing to vote for; on the flipside, 73% of respondents are very or somewhat-unwilling to vote for Lightfoot. Johnson shows room for growth: while just 38% of respondents are willing to vote for him, 42% are unfamiliar with him and 26% are unsure about whether they would vote for him. On the other hand, while 79% of respondents are familiar with Vallas, a majority (55%) are somewhat or very unwilling to vote for him.
Johnson still has considerable room to raise his profile and solidify his stake in the race, beginning with raising his name ID, particularly among people aged 55+, homeowners, and Black people. This will assist him in further boosting his performance in areas where he is leading, particularly on the West and South Sides, while tightening the gap between him and Garcia in other areas.
Putting everything together: 2023 Mayor election outlook
This becomes even clearer when looking at the willingness of each of the four frontrunners’ supporters to vote for other candidates. For all three of the other frontrunners, Garcia is the candidate who the most are willing to vote for; 58%, 41%, and 30% of Johnson’s, Lightfoot’s, and Vallas’ supporters, respectively. Just 11%, 5%, and 2% of Garcia’s, Vallas’, and Johnson’s supporters are willing to vote for Lightfoot, respectively.
Chicagoans are sending a strong message that they desire progressive leadership, and that Mayor Lightfoot has not lived up to their expectations. As the survey was weighted based on the demographics of the Chicago population, rather than demographics of likely voters, results may skew in somewhat favor of Johnson and against Vallas and Lightfoot, based on people under age 35 representing a smaller share of voters than the population. That said, the deficit of Lightfoot against Garcia, Johnson, and Vallas is still clear.
Complete survey results can be viewed here.
A third administration of the “Race for Mayor” poll will take place in early February. To recieve an invite to participate please complete this form: Chicago's Race for Mayor - 3 Sign Up
Eli Brottman is a political consultant based on Chicago’s North Side. Utilizing his background in mathematics and statistics, Eli employs data-driven strategies to guide field strategy, mail and digital strategy, messaging, voter targeting, and fundraising. In the past year, Eli has consulted on over 20 campaigns across the Chicago Metropolitan Area. He also worked for a national polling firm during the 2022 election season. You can learn more about Eli at www.elibrottman.com.
Publisher's Note: Eli has not been employed or contracted by any candidates or campaigns for Chicago Mayor in the 2023 race.
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