- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Mayor Rahm Emanuel has doubled his lead over challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the past three weeks, showing strong momentum a week before the city’s first-ever mayoral runoff election, according to a Chicago Tribune poll published Tuesday.

Emanuel now has the backing of 58 percent of voters, compared to 30 percent for Garcia - a lead double what it was in a similar poll three weeks ago, the newspaper reported (https://trib.in/1CIrVIW ). The poll, conducted March 25-28 with an error margin of 3.7 percentage points, found nine percent of voters were undecided.

Most of Emanuel’s gains have been among white voters, with 72 percent support compared to 56 percent in the poll conducted March 6-11. Garcia lost support among white voters, with 25 percent backing him now, down from 35 percent three weeks ago.

But support from black voters has changed little for either candidate, with Emanuel leading 53 percent to Garcia’s 28 percent, despite efforts by both to court the black vote.

Much of the support the mayor had from black voters four years ago vanished in the primary. Though Emanuel was the clear winner in every majority-black ward, he received fewer than half the votes in them. Four years ago, he received more than half the votes in every single one.

Garcia has more support among Latino voters, 52 percent to 36 percent, though the margins are far lower than Emanuel has garnered among white voters.

Emanuel was forced into a runoff with Garcia after failing to get more than 50 percent of the vote in the Feb. 24 primary.

Since then, he has run television ads attacking Garcia, and the Tribune poll found that Garcia’s favorability rating has fallen from 40 percent in early March to 31 percent now, while Emanuel’s approval rating remains around 52 percent.

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