Political polls provide a snapshot of the voting public at a particular time. Accuracy is questionable as to how they reflect the actual results of an election, but they do provide indicators, which is why everyone -- from the newspapers to the candidates themselves -- conducts a poll.
N'DIGO conducted unscientific polls on the mayoral race at various times as the political picture evolved. The race started with 22 or so candidates, but the actual number of candidates on the ballot for February 22 is six.
The reason N'DIGO conducted our own polls is that we questioned the accuracy and reliability of the major media polls, keeping in mind that not one major poll predicted that Harold Washington would win the mayoral race in 1983. Not one got it right.
I am not sure Black Chicago is polled correctly; there are a lot of factors involved. But it is relatively easy to poll now. Phoning is one way and the Internet is another. N'DIGO polls were all conducted on the Internet and sometimes linked with other media.
What polls reveal is a trend set; they demonstrate how the public is favoring a candidate at a point in time. It's sort of like, "How do you like me now?!" -- with the emphasis on the "now."
Polls are conducted from time to time in a race to determine where the candidate is at that particular point and where the public is, indicating where the candidate should or should not go, and whether the candidate's message is getting out and resonating.
Polls often determine how media covers candidates, depending on which way the political wind seems to be blowing among those surveyed. Indicators that influence the polls are candidate positions, debates, statements and mishaps during the campaign.
Of course, the real poll is what the voters do on Election Day.
A good poll samples about 500 people, with a margin of error of three to five percent. A scientific poll collects its sampling by polling certain demographics. The polls N'DIGO conducted were on the Internet and open voting allowed each voter to vote once.
Of the five we conducted, one was thrown out because at least one candidate had his/her supporters crash the ballot. But that poll was the first time we listed all six candidates running in the field.
Below is a sampling of the polls conducted by various media. Keep this on file and on February 23, when the real results come in after the voting, determine which polling organization was most accurate. Pay attention to dates the poll were conducted and percentages candidates were receiving.
N'DIGO First Poll - September 17, 2010
Poll listed 20 candidates. These are the top responses:
Rev. James Meeks 32.1%
Rahm Emanuel 06.3%
Carol Moseley Braun 06.2%
Age 46 + 46.2%
N'DIGO Second Poll - November 19, 2010
Carol Moseley Braun 27.4%
Rahm Emanuel 22.7%
Danny Davis 21.5%
Rev. James Meeks 18.8%
Gery Chico 04.4%
African Americans 90.2%
Age 46+ 60.3%
N'DIGO Third Poll - January 3, 2011
Carol Moseley Braun 45.1%
Rahm Emanuel 26.3 %
Gery Chico 14.1%
Danny Davis 9.2%
Miguel del Valle 4.0%
African Americans 47.2%
Age 46+ 43.5%
N'DIGO Fourth Poll - January 28, 2011
This poll considered candidates while Rahm Emanuel was temporarily tossed out of the race. We disqualified this poll because we believed it was tampered with.
Carol Moseley Braun 65.4%
William Dock Walls 25.1%
Gery Chico 04.5%
Patricia Van Pelt Watkins 02.7%
Miguel del Valle 01.3%
African Americans 63.8%
Age 46+ 36.9
N'DIGO Fifth Poll - February 11, 2011
Rahm Emanuel 46.1%
Carol Moseley Braun 26.9%
Gery Chico 14.6%
Miguel del Valle 10.0%
African Americans 91.0%
Age 46+ 74.1%
Teamsters/Anzalone Liszt Poll - November 15, 2010
Del Valle 04%
Chicago Retail Merchants Association Poll - December 22, 2010
Davis/Meeks/Del Valle Single digits
Chicago Retail Merchants Association Poll - February 14, 2011
Del Valle 10%
ABC7/Richard Day Poll - Feb 10, 2011
Del Valle 08%
Tribune Poll - January 19, 2011
Tribune Poll - Feb 10, 2011
Victory Research Poll - February 13, 2011