Rahm Emanuel

Poll: More Than Half of Chicago Voters Think Mayor Emanuel Should Resign

A new poll shows that more than half of Chicago voters believe Mayor Rahm Emanuel should resign amid the fallout from the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video two weeks ago.

The poll, conducted by Ogden & Fry for the Illinois Observer, asked likely voters three questions about Emanuel concerning job approval and his handling of the McDonald case. A total of 739 people deemed likely to vote next year based on their voter history responded to the Dec. 5 survey.

Activists have been calling for the mayor's resignation for the last two weeks, with many of them claiming Emanuel was involved in a cover-up of the case, which the mayor disputes. When those surveyed were asked whether they, too, believe Emanuel should resign, about 51 percent said yes. Just under 30 percent said they do not think the mayor should resign, and about 20 percent were undecided.

While Emanuel says he did not aid a possible cover-up of the McDonald case, the poll results show that many do not believe everything the mayor has said about his knowledge of the 2014 shooting incident.

When those surveyed were asked whether they believed Emanuel when he said he had not seen the dashcam video showing the fatal shooting of McDonald before the video was released to the public, about 64 percent said no, they do not believe the mayor. Another 17 percent said they did believe him, and about 19 percent said they were undecided.

In a press conference with former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy shortly before the dashcam video was released, Emanuel said he was waiting to see the video when the rest of the city could see it.

The survey inquired about the mayor's approval ratings as well. When asked if they approved or disapproved of the way Emanuel is "handling his job," 67 percent of those surveyed said they disapproved. Another 18 percent said they approved with 15 percent undecided. Another poll conducted by Ogden & Fry in September for The Illinois Observer showed about 51 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way the mayor was handling his job.

A spokesperson for the mayor said Emanuel is not deterred by the poll results.

"The mayor is challenged not by a poll, but the job of addressing a broken system," Peter Giangreco, a campaign spokesperson, said. "That is the job this moment in our city demands and one he is absolutely committed to seeing through." 

Pollster Tom Swiss said his poll reflects the "heat of the emotion" surrounding the McDonald case and the recent release of the dashcam video, but he said people's opinions on the mayor may change in the coming months.

"Really in the heat of the emotion of this, the question is, to me, where does the mayor end up in two months?" Swiss said. "Because emotions don't last forever." 

Emanuel took action following the release of the video and fired McCarthy a week later. He also later changed his tune about the possibility of a Justice Department investigation into Chicago police tactics, which is now underway. The mayor was accused of opposing the investigation before he came out in support of it, but he said last week he wanted to "clarify" his previous comments and said he always supported the investigation.

Despite his recent decisions, however, Emanuel still faces calls for his resignation, along with other top officials, including Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

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