A new poll conducted by Northwestern University’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy and a coalition of Black and Latino nonprofits — including the Hispanic Federation, Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative, Latino Policy Forum and Latino Victory Project — found Black and Latino voters have common ground on key issues in the upcoming Chicago mayoral election.
The study found that Black and Latino voters are no longer rallying behind the candidate of their race or ethnicity. In a city like Chicago, which has seen its fair share of racial tension, this is not surprising to some community leaders.
Jose Muñoz is the executive director of La Casa Norte, an organization helping youth and families facing homelessness in Chicago.
“I think identity politics is a thing in a city like Chicago, but it’s not the only thing,” Muñoz said. “I think for the most part, you know, what they’re really looking for is for a leader who’s been a part of the community, who isn’t just showing up during Election Day, someone that they can count on, consistently look at and cares about the city.”
Jaime Dominguez is a political science professor at Northwestern University and helped conduct the study. He echoed Muñoz and said, this time around, voters want a candidate who cares about solving key issues in the city. Police reform and public safety are among the main issues.
“Our polls show across both groups, on a variety of different issues, commonalities,” Dominguez said. “Police reform, both compared to Whites, were really interested in addressing crime but with accountability and reform.”
Leading the polls are Paul Vallas, Jesús “Chuy” García and incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“In this primary, Black voters say they’ll vote for the Black candidate,” Dominguez said. “But if it enters a runoff between Chuy (García) and Lori (Lightfoot), Chuy has a positive record with Black communities, generally speaking.”
Ana Solano is a community organizer for Ùnete La Villita. She said the results of the study are exciting because they confirm that Black and Latino voters care about the same things.
“As a young Latina in Chicago, some of the most important issues to me are environmental justice, affordable housing, keeping Chicago as a sanctuary city and more frequent/reliable public transit.”