If the latest poll numbers are a reflection of the big early voting numbers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel should feel comfortable heading into the last week before the runoff election.
Ogden and Fry released their latest numbers Sunday, which show Emanuel retaining his comfortable lead over Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, although he is still short of the 50 percent he needs when factoring in undecided votes.
Garcia gained a little ground in the poll with 34.2 percent of the vote to Emanuel's 47.6 percent. More than 18 percent of voters surveyed remain undecided with just over a week to go until the election.
In the same poll last week, the mayor held 48.5 percent of the vote and Garcia 32.1 percent.
Perhaps the more important difference between the two polls are the numbers when the undecided voters are factored out. In this case, Emanuel rakes in a comfortable 57.9 percent of votes to Garcia's 42.1 percent. This is an increase in last week's numbers, which should be reassuring to the mayor.
The two candidates were neck-and-neck in the race before they both revealed their budget plans a few weeks ago. Immediately following the Feb. 24 election, Emanuel only held 42.7 percent of voters surveyed and Garcia held 38.5 percent.
Since their budget plans were spotlighted, however, Emanuel has used advertisements and other campaign strategies to pick away at Garcia's vague plan, which received its share of criticism from the general public as well.
Ogden and Fry claim Emanuel's attack ads focusing on Garcia's budget plan are the cause of the shift in their polls over the last few weeks. If Garcia wants to stay competitive, he will need to shift the spotlight to Emanuel's flaws instead of his own.
After a record week of early voting, it may even be too late for Garcia to turn around the poll numbers before next week's election. Voter turnout is expected to be low on April 7, which falls in the middle of Spring Break for Chicago Public Schools and several area schools.
In another advance for Emanuel, the mayor received an endorsement from Ald. Bob Fioretti Sunday. The former mayoral candidate was one of the most vocal critics of Emanuel during his time in City Council, but while his sudden change of heart may hurt his own reputation, it could also give Emanuel one more boost.