Chicago's mayoral race will extend into April, if new poll numbers remain stable.
The Chicago Tribune's latest poll on the campaign, out Tuesday, showed that while the mayor has increased his favorability by 3 percentage points since late last month, he still falls short of the 50 percent-plus-one vote threshold needed next Tuesday to avoid a run-off election.
The poll, conducted Wednesday through Sunday, found Emanuel at 45 percent support. .... Cook County Commissioner [Jesus "Chuy"] Garcia had 20 percent support, while Ald. Bob Fioretti and businessman Willie Wilson each had 7 percent backing. Community activist William "Dock" Walls had 2 percent, while 18 percent said they were undecided.
Additionally, the increase Emanuel received falls within the poll's margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.
The Tribune's poll showed Emanuel's greatest opportunity to garner more votes was among black voters. Twenty-five percent of them said they were undecided.
The Chicago Tribune in December endorsed Emanuel for re-election.
Garcia on Monday expressed confidence in his campaign and said momentum was on his side. The Tribune's poll showed Garcia increased 2 percentage points from last month.
"As people come off of those debates they’re deciding, they're now focused on the race and they know there's a clear alternative," he said.
If there is an April 7 run-off election, it will be the first time since the city changed to a consolidated election with candidates no longer needing to declare political parties.
As of Monday, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners reported that 37,000 voters had cast early ballots. Four years ago, a total of 73,000 people voted early, but the time span was longer: 18 days versus just 13 days this election.