The implosion of Carol Moseley Braun's candidacy for Chicago mayor is complete, if a new poll is to be believed, and the apparent benefactor is Rahm Emanuel.
The survey, conducted by Richard Day Research for ABC-7, gives Emanuel just over the magic 50 percent he would need to win the February 22 mayoral election without a runoff. The former White House Chief of Staff and Chicago congressman received 54 percent of the vote in the poll.
Only one other candidate, Gery Chico, broke into double figures. Chico won 14 percent of the vote; City Clerk Miguel del Valle received 8 percent, and Ambassador Braun got a mere 6 percent.
Despite earning the moniker of "consensus candidate" from the city's black political leaders, Braun's campaign has struggled from the get-go with fundraising -- it has still yet to air a television ad on a major network. She didn't help her cause by initially refusing to release her tax returns, nor by claiming an "advanced degree" from Harvard, or falsely saying one of her opponents was "strung out on crack" in a recent debate.
After the dismal showing thus far, Braun has faded from a strong second to a distant fourth in the polls. And the support of the city's black population seems to be shifting to Emanuel.
This week, Jesse White, the Secretary of State and a prominent black politician in Illinois, threw his support behind Emanuel. And in the ABC survey, 53 percent of African-American respondents registered their support for Rahm.
He also outperformed the two Latino candidates, Chico and del Valle, among Latino respondents. Emanuel won over 47 percent of those voters, while del Valle received roughly half that much support, and Chico still less.
If Emanuel fails to win 50 percent of the total vote on Election Day, there will be an April run-off between him and the second-place candidate. And with 15 percent of voters undecided in the poll, it's far from certain that he'll reach that crucial threshold.
Still, the first independent poll that places Emanuel over 50 percent is surely good news for Team Rahm -- and scary for those chasing him.