With just days until the April 4 election, mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas are making final pushes for support. Both candidates can still focus on direct outreach in Black and brown communities to earn more votes.

Earlier in the week, Northwestern University’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy (CSDD) released a nonpartisan mayoral runoff poll—the largest one conducted this cycle, according to the researchers—that shows the race is too close to call. The deciding factor will be voter turnout, especially among Latinx residents, who the poll shows are less likely to vote. 

While Latinx voters seem to be leaning more toward Vallas, the poll results indicate that their vote is still in play. Results showed that forty-six percent of registered Latinx voters prefer Vallas, while thirty-five percent like Johnson. The researchers also pointed out that a third of Latinx voters think Vallas may be Latino (likely because of his last name, which can have a Spanish pronunciation), which could work to his advantage. Forty-seven percent of Latinx voters said they have yet to be contacted by either campaign. 

The poll also showed that reducing crime is by far the most important issue for voters across all racial groups but especially among Black residents. The second most important issue for Latinx and white voters was the rising cost of living; for Black voters it was police reform and accountability. 

At a press conference on Tuesday, Patrice James, executive director of the Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative, pointed out that Black voters are equally interested in “quality of life issues” that have a direct impact on crime, like childcare, transportation, and public school funding. “These candidates need to be talking with some specificity on quality of life public policy, because that is in many ways the other side of the coin to public safety and crime,” said James.

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 voters, was developed in collaboration with a coalition of Black and Latinx nonprofits, including the Hispanic Federation, the Illinois Black Advocacy Initiative, the Latino Policy Forum, and the Latino Victory Project.

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