Skip to main content

New poll reveals common ground on key issues among Black and Latino Voters in Chicago mayoral race 

Poll shows tight race between Mayor Lightfoot, Vallas, Garcia and Wilson

CHICAGO  --- With less than two weeks left until Election Day, the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy (CSDD) at Northwestern University and a coalition of Black and Latino nonprofits released a nonpartisan poll showing common ground among Black and Latino voters in the Chicago mayoral race. Results from the survey showcase the need for candidates to address safety, cost of living and jobs, among other priority issues for Chicagoans.

The poll also shows a tight race between Paul Vallas (19%), U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (17%), Mayor Lori Lightfoot (14%) and Willie Wilson (12%). Broken down by demographics, 40% of Latino voters are leaning toward Rep. Garcia, 23% of Black voters are leaning toward Mayor Lightfoot, and 25% of white voters are leaning toward Vallas. More than 20% of voters still remain undecided.

The poll was conducted by BSP Research. Northwestern and a  coalition of Black and Latino nonprofits funded and developed this poll to better understand the issues mobilizing Black and Latino Chicago voters. The coalition includes Hispanic Federation, Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative, Latino Policy Forum and Latino Victory Project.

“This poll is critical in that it injects the voices of Chicago’s Latino and Black communities into the 2023 mayoral race. The findings make clear that Latino and Black communities are politically engaged on policy issues and enthused about electing the next mayor. And the fact that most voters have not lined up behind their preferred co-ethnic candidate is a signal to the campaigns that their political outreach and mobilization efforts will be critical to their candidate’s electoral success,” said Jaime Domínguez, Associate Professor of Instruction, Northwestern University Department of Political Science and CSDD Research Affiliate.    

“This latest poll proves once again that Black and Latino voters are not a monolith and the issues that drive our communities to the ballot box are vast and diverse. The poll also sheds light on the urgent need to ramp up continuous engagement with Latino communities who show the lowest rates of being 100 percent certain to vote. Candidates and elected officials must put real solutions on the table that address public safety, inflation, income and more while meeting communities where they are by investing in culturally competent outreach. It’s the only way we can increase voter turnout and ensure those elected are truly chosen by the people,” said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of Hispanic Federation

“Chicago’s Latino and Black communities’ priority issues must be a driving force behind the mayoral candidates’ voter mobilization campaigns and policy platforms. Latinos are nearly 30 % of Chicago’s population, so candidates must be fully aware of the issues they care about the most to meet Latino voters where they are and ensure their voices are heard at the ballot box. Any candidate elected to lead Chicago’s City Hall must be ready to work on policy issues that will help Latino and Black communities thrive, and this poll is crucial in knowing where these communities stand. Latino Victory Project is proud to partner with the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern University and our fellow Black and Latino organizations working to ensure our communities are engaged in this critical mayoral election,” said Nathalie Rayes, Latino Victory Project President & CEO. 

"Black Chicagoans deserve to be safe.  Demonstrated by the poll, Black Chicagoans recognize that safety can be achieved by both meeting people's basic needs and creating equitable systems. The next Mayor of Chicago must prioritize and focus on increasing the number of accessible jobs that pay a living wage, a strong public education system, reliable public transportation and affordable housing and child care - not focusing on increasing the police department's budget," said Patrice James, Executive Director of the Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative.

The poll found that crime (57%), inflation/cost of living (44%), and wages/jobs (25%) dominate as the most important issues for all Chicago voters. A majority of Black (54%) and white (64%) respondents as well as a plurality of Latino voters (46%) identified crime as the most important issue. Equally important, 46% of all voters strongly support decreasing police funding and investing in addressing root causes of crime.

The poll also found that Chicago voters agree on an active and effective government, with overwhelming support across racial groups to:

  • Create more affordable housing (56% of Latinos, 63% of Blacks, 47% of whites )
  • Make childcare accessible to all parents (55% of Latinos, 57% of Blacks, 41% of whites)
  • Increase the number of police on the force (48% of Latinos, 38% of Blacks, 47% of whites)
  • Tax multi-million dollar properties to help pay for services (54% of Latinos, 44% of Blacks, 39% of whites)
  • Create a humane and orderly way to allow immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to live and contribute to Chicago (88% of Latinos, 78% of Blacks, and 76% of whites)

“I was heartened to see that the city of big shoulders embraces efforts to integrate migrants into the community. Seventy nine percent of all Chicago likely voters polled responded favorably to the question to “create a humane and orderly way to allow immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to live and contribute to Chicago,” with 88% of Latinos, 78% of Black, and 76% of white people supporting the effort,” said Sylvia Puente, President and CEO of Latino Policy Forum.

In terms of commonality among racial groups to work together on issues, 85% of Latino voters and 75% of Black voters think that both communities have more in common when it comes to government and politics in Chicago. Additionally, over 70% of Black and Latino voters think Chicago would be better if Black and Latino communities work together on issues.

Finally, Latino voters show the lowest rates of being 100% certain to vote at 69%, followed by 78% of Black voters and 83% of white voters.

The poll includes 643 registered voters in Chicago who were randomly contacted by cell phone, email or through other online panels and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.9%. The poll was in the field Feb 5-10, 2023 and available in English or Spanish. Respondents who said they were not planning to vote were excluded. Final data were weighted to match the known U.S. Census Bureau estimates for voters in Chicago.