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Johnson Shores Up Progressive Coalition

March 23rd, 2023

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Photos by Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images (left) / Scott Olson/Getty Images (right)

In the latest official independent poll of the Chicago Mayoral run-off election, former Chicago School CEO Paul Vallas saw his lead over Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson shrink from six points to two (46.3%-44.2%) from the previous poll conducted March 6-9. The percentage of respondents who said they are still undecided in the race shrank almost in half from 16% to 9.6%.

According to the poll, Johnson has begun to coalesce the progressive coalition following the endorsement of former rival Congressman Jesus “Chui” Garcia. Johnson increased his percentage among respondents who self-identified as progressive by more than ten percentage points (58.4%-69.1%) from the previous poll. A small but significant gender gap has also emerged. Johnson now leads slightly among female voters (45.3%-43.5%). In the previous poll, Vallas led among women voters 44.4%-40.7%.

The results are part of the latest Illinois Poll, conducted March 20-22. It is a semi-monthly survey conducted since 2001 by Victory Research, an independent polling company based in Chicago. The poll of 806 likely Chicago run-off voters has a margin of error of 3.45% and was conducted by live callers. Respondents answered using land lines (234) and cell phones (572). Victory Research has no polling client in the Mayor’s race. @ILpollster.

Geographically, Vallas continues to hold a big lead over Johnson in the areas he won on February 28th. On the Northwest Side of the city, Vallas leads Johnson by a more than three-to-one margin (67.3%-20.4%). On the Southwest Side, Vallas holds an almost two-to-one lead (62.6%-32.4%). The Johnson campaign counters by holding a wide lead on both the South Side of the city (71.8%-19.8%), and the West Side (75.9%-13.9%). Vallas leads among White voters (71.7%-21.9%), while Johnson leads among Black voters (73.6%-16.1%), according to the poll.

The poll shows that, as in the previous poll, the two groups still most in play are north Lakefront and Hispanic voters. Neither candidate has established majority support with these two groups of voters, according to the poll. Vallas holds a small lead currently among both groups, although he hasn’t hit the 50% mark with either group. Lakefront voters favor Vallas 46.2%-43.6%, while among Hispanic voters, Vallas now leads by five points (45.7%-40.6%). In the previous poll, the candidates were in a statistical tie among Hispanics (39.9%-38.3%).

Respondents who said they voted for one of the other candidates are beginning to choose sides in this election. A majority of those who said they voted for Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who among the runners-up who finished in double digits is the only candidate not to endorse thus far, a majority (53.0%) now say they are for Johnson. A majority of those who said they voted for Garcia, also now choose Johnson (55.2%), Among respondents who said they voted for Businessman Willie Wilson, a slight majority now say they will vote for Vallas, the candidate Wilson endorsed (50.6%).

The race remains fluid, according to the poll. After choosing a Mayor candidate, respondents were asked if their “mind is made up” or “is there still a chance you could change your mind?” In addition to the nearly ten percent of respondents who are undecided, 15.5% said they still could change their mind. Not to mention the nearly 65% of Chicago voters did not vote in the first election that could vote in this one.


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