Could Chicago's Rahm Emanuel lose his re-election race?

CHICAGO — Rahm Emanuel has everything a winning mayoral candidate would seem to need: name recognition, a campaign war chest nearing $10 million and famous friends in Hollywood and the White House who are more than willing to slide into town at a moment’s notice.

Yet polling has consistently shown that the former Obama administration chief of staff has one significant deficit in his campaign for re-election next February: The majority of voters in his city do not like him.

Over the last 12 months, Emanuel’s approval ratings have been on a downward spiral. A Chicago Tribune pollreleased in August, for example, shows that 35 percent of likely voters approve of the job he has been doing, down from 50 percent about a year ago. The results are similar regardless of voters’ race, income, age or gender. A Chicago Sun-Times poll from May shows similar dissatisfaction: Only 18 percent of those surveyed said Emanuel was doing a better job than previous mayor Richard M. Daley.

The polling results reflect a growing tension over leadership in Chicago. To many, Emanuel represents a problem. In 2012, the first full year of his term, the city’s homicide count surpassed 500. And, many say, his decision to shut nearly 50 public schools — the largest mass school closing in U.S. history — and to strike development deals downtown instead of in lower-income neighborhoods has deepened the city’s economic divide...


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