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Teachers union poll: Voters split on Emanuel’s job performance

Updated: May 26, 2012 8:22AM

Chicago voters are evenly divided on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s job performance — with increasing numbers giving him negative reviews, according to a poll released by the Chicago Teachers Union Tuesday.

Forty-seven percent of likely voters polled in late March rated Emanuel’s job performance as “poor’’ or “just fair”— 16 percent more than did so in August.

Another 47 percent said he is doing an “excellent” or “good” job — six percent fewer than in August.

The jump in the mayor’s negative ratings is well outside the poll’s margin of error for those questions, 5.6 percentage points in this poll, noted pollster Daniel Gotoff of Lake Research Partners, which conducted the poll for the Chicago Teachers Union just as it is locked in contract talks with the district.

“I’m not making the case that people hate Rahm right now, but they have clearly shifted their thinking,’’ Gotoff said. “His negative job performance ratings are where the most precipitous movement is.’’

Chicago Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard’s job performance was viewed as “just fair” or “poor” by 44 percent — twice as many as those who rated him favorably.

Meanwhile, the poll indicated more voters oppose than support reforms touted by Brizard and Emanuel, including tying a teacher’s salary to student academic progress and closing, consolidating or phasing out chronically under performing schools.

Asked if they would support or oppose a teacher strike based on a cancellation of 4 percent raises and a longer school year, 36 percent supported a strike, 39 percent opposed it, 20 percent were neutral and 6 percent didn’t know. The error margin for those questions was 4 percentage points.

The poll also showed strong public support for Chicago public school teachers, with less support, but still mostly favorable impressions, for the CTU.

CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll zeroed in on the finding that only 36 percent voiced support for a strike.

“Rather than continuing to threaten such an unpopular action, the CTU should continue to work with CPS, parents and principals to guarantee the best possible future for the children of Chicago,” Carroll.

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