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  • Zach

A 4-Way Fight for Mayor

A new poll shows a tight four-way battle for mayor. Polls have varied over the last couple of weeks, but this one is likely the best current reflection of where the race stands. Local races can change quickly, but at the moment Paul Vallas, Lori Lightfoot, Chuy García, and Brandon Johnson are all essentially in a statistical tie. García has been getting a lot of negative coverage and his numbers are slipping substantially, especially as progressives discover Johnson. Johnson and Vallas likely have the most room for improvement as voters discover them, as most voters are already familiar with Lightfoot and García. All four candidates have enough cash to continue significant ad campaigns, but Johnson and García likely are best positioned for broad get-out-the-vote efforts through their union backing and support from elected officials and organizing groups.

There will be a runoff between the top two candidates (as no one will get 50% support in the 2/28 election) and any of these four can make it in, though Lightfoot looks least likely at the moment. I think that runoff matchups would be very tight now between any combination of García, Johnson, and Vallas (which is a change from García earlier seeming runoff strength that is starting to decline) but any of the three would most likely defeat Lightfoot. Lightfoot is publicly hoping for a Vallas matchup which would be her best chance at reelection. Willie Wilson is the only other candidate with a significant vote share and campaign cash, but he will neither make nor win a runoff.

Below are month-by-month trendlines of how likely I've thought each candidate has been to become mayor. These probabilities have attempted to factor in the likelihood of these and other candidates to run before they declared as well as their likelihood to win if running (and based on who else might run). Non-listed candidates have been at 0% probability to win throughout, even if they might get a significant vote share (looking at you, Willie Wilson).

Prior to these detailed numbers, in 2021 I was forecasting a Lightfoot vs. Johnson runoff, and in early 2022 the potential runoff candidates were Lori Lightfoot, Bill Conway, Stacy Davis Gates, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, and Chuy Garcia.

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