Chicago Mayor Lightfoot places fourth in poll ahead of reelection day next month

An increase in crime since Lightfoot took office four years ago has hurt the mayor's reelection bid.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has an uphill battle to win reelection – facing eight challengers in next month's election amid a crime problem that has rippled through the county's third-most populous city.

From 2019, when Lightfoot took office, to the end of 2022, crime rose 33% overall. Specifically, murder rose 39%, theft increased 37% and motor vehicle theft rose 139%, Chicago Police Department data shows.

The election is Feb. 28, and a runoff will be held April 4 if no candidate receives a majority of votes.

Lightfoot, the first black woman and gay person to be elected Chicago mayor, finished fourth in the recently published Chicago Index poll, a collaboration between The Daily Line and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Finishing ahead of Lightfoot in the poll were Democrat Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who endorsed Lightfoot in 2019; Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson; and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas.

Garcia and Johnson tied for first, with each receiving 25% of the vote, and Vallas and Lightfoot received 15% and 11%, respectively. All other candidates received 5% or less of the vote. (All nine candidates are listed on Ballotpedia as "nonpartisan.")

The survey was conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 14, 2022 among 1,757 Chicago residents and had a 3% margin of error.

Lightfoot campaign spokesperson Christina Freundlich said the poll is "not scientific" and that the pollsters "haven’t done a good job of capturing the electorate of the city."

Companies such as McDonald's Corp. have said safety is a major reason why workers do not want to come back into the office. Additionally, billionaire Ken Griffin reportedly moved his hedge fund Citadel LLC to Miami in part because of security concerns.