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This February Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is up for reelection, and a recent Sun-Times poll found Emanuel’s support dangerously low, especially among minority voters.
With that in mind, let’s look back at Emanuel’s election in 2011 and where he got the majority of his votes.
The map below shows one dot for every vote cast in 2011. The dots are placed randomly within the precinct they came in (thanks to TribApps’ Englewood), meaning some are in parks, on freeways or other places people don’t live. We plan on cleaning that up in future versions of the map.
Dick Simpson, University of Illinois at Chicago professor of political science, said the map matches up with some of the narratives around the 2011 campaign.
“Rahm’s base of support is on the Northside. He got endorsements from the ward committeemen and aldermen at the start of his campaign,” Simpson said. “As Carol Moseley Braun’s campaign imploded he picked up endorsements on the South and West sides, but that’s why there’s less green.”
There are some very stark lines that match up pretty well with some of the divisions in this map. Combined with the Sun-Times poll, which shows only 8 percent of African-Americans would vote for Emanuel today, it’s easy to see where his support could erode in 2015.
Though Emanuel is likely to lose votes on the Southside compared to 2011, Simpson said it’s still too early to predict where exactly 2015 will end up.
"[The poll] underestimates what will happen when the campaign starts and Rahm spends his $10-15 million," Simpson said. "The green will come back but not as strong."
The major unknown is what other candidates (such as Toni Preckwinkle), may step forward. Simpson said that without defined challengers to Emanuel, it’s hard to speculate about how his geographic support will change.
In 2011, candidates Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle did well in predominantly Hispanic parts of the city. Right now it’s unclear where those votes will go.
"The Latino areas, that’s what’s up in the air," Simpson said. "There’s no Latino candidate likely to run, so those areas are a mystery."
Simpson said that while Preckwinkle has allies such as Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia, there’s no guarantee she’ll pick up those votes, and that’s if she chooses to run at all.
Until the race solidifies more, Simpson says that while Emanuel’s support is likely to thin out away from the Northside, there’s no one candidate to pick up all those votes.
Without that, he’s reminded of an old Chicago political saying.
"You can’t beat somebody with nobody," he said.