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Poll: Biss can win without a runoff

Daniel Biss may be able to relax after Tuesday's primary and just wait to be sworn in as Evanston's new mayor this spring.

Evanston Now readers responding to an online survey indicate Daniel Biss has enough support to win the mayor’s race outright in next Tuesday’s primary.

Under rules adopted by Evanston voters in a 1992 referendum, a primary for mayor is required if more than two candidates file to run for the office.

And if the top vote-getter in the primary wins more than 50% of the vote, that candidate is declared to be the new mayor, without having to participate in a general-election runoff with the second-place finisher.

Evanston Now asked the more than 9,000 subscribers to our email newsletters to respond to the survey that asked who they planned to vote for for mayor and other local offices. We received 260 valid responses to the survey.

Older Evanston residents were more likely to respond to the survey than younger ones, so we weighted the results to adjust for the actual distribution of the voting-age population, but that adjustment shifted the results by less than one percentage point, and only strengthened the Biss lead.

The results show Biss with nearly 75% of the vote, Lori Keenan with just under 20% and Sebastian Nalls with just under 6%.

Evanston Now has not previously conducted surveys of this nature, so we have no way of assessing whether what our readers told us will be reflected in the actual election results on Tuesday.

Only the race for mayor has the rule to short-circuit a runoff. In contests for alderman and city clerk the top finisher in this month’s primary will face the second place finisher in the April election, regardless of how well that top finisher does this month.

In the primary for city clerk, the only candidate whose name is on the ballot, Stephanie Mendoza, drew 66.5% of the votes in our poll. Of the six write-in candidates, the top two in the poll were the current deputy city clerk, Eduardo Gomez, with 12%, and former ATF agent Cynthia Beebe with 9%.

In the April race for four seats on the District 65 school board, the three incumbents showed the most support, with 65% of readers saying they plan to vote for Elisabeth Lindsay-Ryan, 58% for Soo La Kim and 54% for Joseph Hailpern.

Marquise Weatherspoon finished fourth in the poll with support from 38% of the respondents. The other four non-incumbents received support from between 25% and 30% of the readers taking the survey.

We also asked readers for their views on the aldermanic contests, but with the poll responses divided among nine wards, we concluded the number of responses for each ward was not high enough to provide much confidence in the accuracy of the accuracy of the results. So we’re not reporting those.

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