Early polls tracking voter preferences in Chicago's mayoral race have been inconclusive, to say the least. The Sun-Times commissioned a survey from McKeon and Associates that gave no candidate included more than 12 percent of the total vote. And 35 percent of respondents "don't know" who they want to lead the city in 2011. That's as it should be; hardly any pols have even formally declared for the race, much less laid out a comprehensive plan explaining what priorities they would push for if elected.
The polls have given Chicagoans a few hints about what to expect this February, though. Aldermen (not named Ed Burke) are likely going to face a steep climb, even if they have been criticizing the Daley administration repeatedly over the past several years. Name recognition in a city-wide race matters. While Mayor Daley has received his fair share of positive media attention this week, as expected when any veteran official steps down, candidates closely connected to the mayor's administration might have problems this winter. Two-thirds of respondents in the McKeon poll said they were either "happy or indifferent about the mayor's decision to step down." Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed also reported that they had a heightened interest in the contest, which should help boost turnout for a mayoral election for the first time in years.