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The Pulse

Comparing the Washington and Daley mayoral wins



Richard M. Daley scored 55.4 percent twice in back-to-back primary and general election victories to become mayor of Chicago. This consistent constituency against all challengers is reminiscent of the late Mayor Harold Washington's 53.6 percent and 53.8 percent wins in 1987 (as discussed in this column that May).

In 1989 both Acting Mayor Eugene Sawyer in the primary and Ald. Timothy Evans in the general election tried but failed to reclaim Washington's constituency. Neither Sawyer nor Evans, the two black candidates, could rally the kind of support that Mayor Washington generated. This time the black community was badly divided.

In each of the 1987 elections, turnout in 19 black wards exceeded the citywide turnout of 74 percent of registered voters.

1987 Chicago mayoral elections

WardsGeneral election
Democratic primary
Washington (Democrat)
Vrdolyak (Solidarity)
Haider (Republican)
Total 50 wards600,29053.8%468,49342.0%47,6524.3%587,59453.6%509,43646.4%
10 North white28,43712.4%184,15980.1%17,4287.6%30,35013.1%200,57086.9%
7 South white28,52315.1%153,97181.7%5,9933.2%28,69715.7%154,20784.3%
6 Lakefront52,40741.8%56,71945.2%16,37213.0%54,80546.4%63,42653.6%
4 Mixed37,55845.2%42,29551.0%3,1533.8%36,30342.2%49,79457.8%
4 Hispanic27,30562.3%15,15734.6%1,3433.1%24,61253.7%21,24046.3%
9 Majority black174,03091.2%14,4387.6%2,3261.2%169,01491.5%15,6918.5%
10 96-plus % black251,99298.9%1,705.7%1,033.4%243,16098.9%2,6751.1%
NOTE: Totals include absentee ballots not allocated.

1989 Chicago mayoral elections
WardsGeneral election
Democratic primary
Daley (Democrat)
Evans (Washington)
Vrdolyak (Republican)
Total 50 wards577,14155.4%428,10541.1%35,9983.5%486,58655.4%383,79543.7%
10 North white216,72590.8%10,8984.6%11,1664.7%185,70890.5%18,3548.9%
7 South white156,95483.6%18,79710.0%12,0676.4%140,75687.3%19,68812.2%
6 Lakefront87,08073.3%26,69822.5%4,9944.2%69,86869.6%29,24929.1%
4 Mixed55,44066.7%25,13430.2%2,5173.0%46,85266.0%23,48431.1%
4 Hispanic28,04270.0%10,90727.2%1,1032.8%21,17267.3%10,03831.9%
9 Majority black22,06213.8%135,92484.8%2,3291.5%15,79012.1%112,81086.6%
10 96-plus % black10,3174.9%199,59694.3%1,788.8%5,0362.8%169,91295.8%
NOTE: Totals include absentee ballots not allocated. Primary base includes 8,407 votes not shown that were cast for other candidates: Larry Bloom, James Taylor, Sheila Jones.

July 1989 | Illinois Issues | 38

In each of the 1989 elections, turnout in black wards lagged the city wide level by 5.5 points, while turnout in 17 white ethnic wards was 9 points over the citywide turnout. The mix of voters changed considerably in 1989 compared to 1987 and is evident by the vote declines in the black wards (see tables).

. . .Evans had failed to make
afficienf inroads outside
to core base of black voters;
unfavorable opinion of Evans
was too high to achieve
Washington's level of support

In 1989 neither Sawyer nor Evans could generate the support needed from Hispanic and lakefront voters as Washington had in 1987. The late mayor won over half the Hispanic vote; this year over two-thirds of it went for Daley. In 1987 Washington got 42 percent in the primary and 46 percent in the general election from the lakefront; this year in the lakefront Sawyer was held to 29 percent in the Democratic primary and Harold Washington Party candidate Evans to 23 percent in the general.

ln a March 16-19 poll, the last of six we conducted for the Chicago Tribune for this year's elections, Daley was ahead by the 14-point margin he won in the April 4 general election; it was evident then that Daley would keep his February 28 primary raters and that Sawyer's voters were uncertain about voting for Evans in the general.

The poll also showed that Evans had filed to make sufficient inroads outside his core base of black voters; unfavorable opinion of Evans was too high to achieve Washington's level of support. Among Hispanics, 45 percent had an unfavorable opinion of Evans; among lakefront voters, it was 54 percent.

In a question asking which candidates would be acceptable as mayor and which were absolutely unacceptable, Republican Edward Vrdolyak was clearly unacceptable: from 63 percent to 71 percent of white, blacks and Hispanics opposed him. Daley was the only candidate acceptable to a majority of all groups, including 59 percent of blacks.

During the 1989 campaign the issue of spoiler surfaced many times. In December Evans supporters thought Sawyer should withdraw from the Democratic primary. Daley supporters were concerned about Vrdolyak's late February entry in the Republican primary. Vrdolyak suggested that Evans (running under a new party label) should withdraw from the general.

In the March poll, 46 percent of all voters said Vrdolyak was a potential spoiler for Daley — high considering only 4 percent said they would vote for him. Eighty-four percent of white voters thought Daley's chances of winning were best. But 52 percent of whites also gave Evans some chance of winning, while 74 percent gave Vrdolyak no chance.

What if Evans had withdrawn, leaving it a two-man contest? Whites would have still preferred Daley to Vrdolyak, 84 percent to 8 percent; and Daley would have received 58 percent of the black vote to Vrdolyak's 19 percent.

A note about the tables: Chicago's wards, remapped in 1986, are categorized according to the 1980 Census population characteristics. White ethnic wards are on the north side (wards 30, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 45, 47, 50) and the south (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 23), and each was at least 70 percent white except for the 10th, 11th and 12th where much of the balance was Mexican-Hispanic, who are less likely to be registered voters. Mixed wards have two groups with significant percentages, that is, whites/blacks or whites/Hispanics (1, 18, 32, 33). Four wards (22, 25, 26, 31) were 68.7 percent Hispanic, but together contained less than half the city's Hispanic population. Nine wards with black populations ranging from 57 percent to 91 percent were classified as majority black wards (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 15, 27, 29, 37); and 10 were over 96 percent black (3, 6, 8, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 28, 34). Six north side wards (42, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49) adjacent to Lake Michigan are the lakefront, which traditionally displays independent voting habits. □

Nick Panagakis is president of Market Shares Corporation, a marketing and public opinion research firm headquartered in Mount Prospect. A member of the National Council on Public Polls, he is best know for preelection and exit polls conducted for the news media in Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.

July 1989 | Illinois Issues | 39

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