Chicago Mayoral Election 2023

Lightfoot Campaign's Internal Polling Shows Potential for Runoff With Vallas

On Thursday, Lightfoot released an internal campaign poll that shows her in the lead, but statistically in a tie with Vallas

Could there be a Lori Lightfoot vs. Paul Vallas runoff in the upcoming Chicago mayoral election? 

That’s certainly one possible scenario, as Lightfoot faces a tough re-election fight.

On Thursday, Lightfoot released an internal campaign poll that shows her in the lead, but statistically in a tie with Vallas.

The Lightfoot poll results showed:

Lightfoot - 24%

Vallas - 20%

Johnson - 15%

Wilson - 14%

Garcia - 13%

Undecided - 7%

"As this race continues to shift around her, Mayor Lightfoot’s lead – along with her base – remains steady," Lightfoot’s campaign spokeswoman Hannah Goss told NBC Chicago. "As we’ve said all along, we remain confident in our strategy and will see everyone on April 4."

In a statement, Vallas' campaign says "numerous polls in this race have shown three things clearly."

"That Paul Vallas is surging into the lead, that public safety is the number one issue, and that Chicago voters overwhelmingly believe that Mayor Lightfoot has failed and should not be re-elected," the statement read. "Some polls have our campaign leading by a lot, some have us in a close second, but every poll has us making the run off because Paul Vallas is the only candidate in this race letting Chicago voters know that he'll make their safety his number one priority as mayor."

Coming Up: NBC 5 is hosting a Chicago Mayoral Forum with all nine mayoral candidates on Feb. 13. Here's how to watch.

The candidate that took the biggest hit in the Lightfoot polling is Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. In December, the Lightfoot internal campaign poll conducted by GBAO Strategies showed Garcia at 25%.  

Garcia's campaign did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago's request for comment on the poll.

The latest survey spoke to 501 likely voters between Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.

The results differ from ones released this week in an independent poll commissioned by Telemundo Chicago, NBC 5, the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ.

On Wednesday, results from the poll showed a potential three-way tie among mayoral candidates and a certain runoff if the election took place today. According to the opinions of those 625 voters, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, Paul Vallas and Lightfoot would all finish closely together, with Garcia receiving 20% of the overall vote, Vallas receiving 18% and Lightfoot receiving 17%.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. determined the potential margin for error of the results of the poll to be no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points. That puts Willie Wilson, who the poll determined would receive 12% of the vote, and Brandon Johnson, who would receive 11% of the vote, into potential contention as well.

An additional contender in the virtual tie is the undecided voter. According to the poll's findings, 18% of those interviewed said they were currently undecided when asked which candidate would get their vote.

The pool of registered voters included in the poll were interviewed by Mason-Dixon by phone. Of those interviewed, 46% were male and 53% were female. In addition, 36% identified as White/Caucasian, 30% Black/African American, 27% Hispanic/Latino and 3% Asian. The remaining group either refused to identify or chose "other."

The age breakdown of interviewees included the following groups: 18-34 (15%), 35-49 (28%), 50-64 (30%) and 65+ 164 (26%). Four people, or 1%, refused to identify their age.

Chicago's mayoral election takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 28. A runoff election is slated for Tuesday, April 4.

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