Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Polls can be wrong
Those who wake up Tuesday thinking Rahm Emanuel has the election in the bag are doing so, in part, because the polls show him way ahead. Although polls are imperfect predictors of the future, as this Sun-Times front page from Sept. 10, 2010 reminds us.
Less than five years ago. Daley had just announced his retirement. What a world away. I imagine most readers don't need to be reminded what happened to these front chuckleheads, but just in case, I'll give a brief refresher:
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, the front-runner (to stretch the term since, given the spread is from 12 to 7 percent, it really is more of a five-way dead heat, statistically) realized he had a family and dropped out. (Code for, he got scared, contemplating the Rahm buzz saw and bolted like a frightened faun). Rev. James Meeks, who initially clung to the charmed notion he could be mayor of the city of Chicago and remain pastor of his mega-church, opted to stick with the more lucrative job. Luis Guitierrez ... well, I can't recall offhand what happened to him. Generated no heat, per usual, and stuck to his safe gig as congressman. My hunch is he never seriously considered running. Jesse Jackson went insane and was eventually sent to prison. And Rahm, taking up the tail end, diced up his opponents, the solid Gery Chico (who, for those dazzled by the "historic" nature of this race, was both a Hispanic mayoral candidate and crushed by Rahm by more than 2 to to 1). Not to forget the hapless Carol Moseley-Braun, didn't make this cut, but did run, earning the pity vote of 8 percent.
Speaking of Rahm, I'd like to be the first to point out that, should he win, those postulating a kinder, gentler, V-neck sweatered Rahm are living in a dream world. Because the idea that this near-death experience somehow chastened him is based on magical thinking. I believe it's more likely the expensive annoyance of having to campaign hard will only piss him off, making him even a bigger jerk than he already is, which is saying something. And next time his campaign chest will be $50 million.
Assuming he wins. There is a chance that the underpolled Hispanic community really will turn out in force and elect Chuy Garcia. Stranger things have happened. And there's a chance the chilly weather keeps them home. Or keeps the soft Lakefront liberals who are supposedly Rahm's base home. Unless they've already voted because they're all in Cancun for spring break. That's why I try not to predict the future—too many variables, and why waste time balancing them all when we can find out with 100 percent certainty by employing a little trick I call "waiting." We'll know by tonight. I hope.