Alvarez Still Has An Edge
If the election for Cook County States Attorney was held today who would you vote for?
According to the Chicago Tribune’s poll conducted January 28 & 29 if the election was held on the 29 Alvarez had 34% of the vote and Kim Foxx had 27% while Donna Moore had 12% and the other/undecided had 26%. That’s not what the public’s outrage appeared to be and yet that’s what their polls indicate. Interesting. Not to be taken for more than a snapshot of what their readers say. And who are their readers?
From the beginning Alvarez defended what critics contended was a lengthy delay in charging Van Dyke, saying the standards for prosecuting a police officer under rules allowing the use of deadly force were far more complicated than dealing with an ordinary citizen involved in a shooting. She has failed to express in that defense the power of her office to have done otherwise. She never apologized to the family.
Moreover, she has said her office had been working with the U.S. attorney’s office, which was conducting its own investigation into the case, with plans for both state and federal prosecutors to jointly issue their findings. Alvarez said she decided to go ahead and file charges herself and make the announcement earlier than planned out of concern for “public safety” ahead of the video’s release. This adds insult to injury; nowhere does she mention that her swift action after 14 months was on behalf of the victim or his family, but rather for “public safety.”
Critics publically called on Alvarez to resign, but in December she said “there’s no way that I would ever even consider resigning,” casting critics as politicians with ties to her opponents.
The poll found a large percentage of voters don’t accept Alvarez’s explanation for her handling of the McDonald case. More than 7 in 10 Democratic voters said they were not very satisfied or not at all satisfied with it. That included 85 percent of Black voters, 67 percent of Hispanic voters and 64 percent of white voters.
Of those not accepting Alvarez’s explanation, half said they were “not at all satisfied,” including 72 percent of Black voters, 49 percent of Hispanic voters and 35 percent of white voters.
Only 24 percent of voters said they were at least somewhat satisfied with how she had handled the case, including 32 percent of white voters, 26 percent of Hispanic voters and 10 percent of African-American voters.
The challengers in the contest are trying to capitalize on dissatisfaction with Alvarez over the case.
Foxx, a former prosecutor and chief of staff to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, launched a radio ad featuring news reports about the McDonald shooting as an announcer says Foxx is the only candidate who can “fix” a broken system. Preckwinkle has worked hard to promote Foxx, including helping her win slating by the county Democratic organization after it initially had declined to endorse in the contest last summer.
More, a former county and federal prosecutor and Illinois Gaming Board attorney now in private practice, is running cable TV ads. One spot features a newspaper headline about the McDonald case that refers to “justice delayed” as an announcer says Alvarez “must go.”
Overall, half of voters in the poll disapproved of Alvarez’s job performance, while 30 percent approved and 20 percent had no opinion. White voters were split on the question, while 68 percent of Black voters disapproved as did 47 percent of Hispanic voters. The error margin for racial and ethnic subgroups is 5.7 percentage points.
Despite the low job approval rating, Alvarez held a 7-percentage-point lead largely due to white and Hispanic voters. Alvarez got 44 percent support among whites and 39 percent among Hispanics, but just 16 percent among African Americans.
Foxx, meanwhile, was backed by 40 percent of Black voters, a quarter of white voters and 18 percent of Hispanic voters. More was backed by 18 percent of Hispanic voters, 14 percent of Black voters and 8 percent of white voters.
The race remains very organic — 26 percent of the overall vote remains undecided, including 30 percent of black voters, and 24 percent each among white and Hispanic voters.
Foxx has some tweaking to do and More has her work cut out in the six weeks until election day. More than 4 in 10 voters said they had never heard of Foxx, including more than a third of African-American voters, a key constituency for her campaign. Among the 57 percent who had heard of Foxx, few had an impression of her — 37 percent had no opinion, with 16 percent favorable and 4 percent unfavorable. Ads help.
Half of the voters surveyed had never heard of More. Of the half who had heard of her, 41 percent didn’t know enough about her to say whether they had a favorable or unfavorable impression.
The poll found 42 percent of voters had an unfavorable impression of Alvarez, while 26 percent viewed her favorably and 27 percent had no opinion.