By Marcus Robinson
Chicago Communicator News
Mayoral Candidate State Rep. La Shawn Ford’s showing in recent polls indicates a sharp rise in support, which campaign supporters attribute to a very visible social media presence.
“Our engagements on social media far exceeds other candidates,” noted Tamera Fair, a Ford campaign volunteer. “Our likes, shares and comments are much larger in numbers. That says to me that our organic traffic is authentic and committed.”
A poll conducted by AM 1690 WVON’s Maze Jackson January 28, 2019 in a contest between Amara Enyia and La Shawn Ford ended with Enyia receiving 46% and Ford receiving 54% of the vote. This could be a strong indicator that Ford has gained a large portion of the Millennial vote which Enyia’s campaign is hoping to attract.
The impact of social media on elections has yet to be fully realized, in that many first time voters may be participating in unprecedented numbers in this Chicago election due to the number of Mayoral candidates and Aldermanic challenges.
The median age in Chicago is 32 for males and 33 for females. This could mean that the millennial vote could play a larger role in the outcome than anticipated. Most polls are conducted to homes with landlines, and older voters are more likely than younger voters to still own landlines. Could this explain why polls are showing Toni Preckwinkle, age 71, and Bill Daley, age 70, as leading candidates?
Out of the total Chicago population of 2,635,352, 18 and 19 years olds number 32,910; The number of 20 year olds total 17,890, and the number of 21 year olds total 18, 268. The number of Chicagoans aged 22 to 24 years old is 65,643 . Many of these may represent first time voters who did not participate in the last mayoral election.
There are 132,147 Chicagoans aged 25 to 29 years old, and 117,525 aged 30 to 34 years old. This is the millennial population that typically engages in social media that pollsters may have missed in their landline calls.
Contrast that to the 26,955 Chicagoans aged 70-74 years old, the age bracket of Preckwinkle and Daley. It’s a small comparison.
Ford, age 46, has captured a large share of the Millennial voters, as well as a large portion of the population aged 35 to 69, who see him as a seasoned government official after 12 successful years in the State Legislature, his supporters say.
“This is a campaign powered by people. We’re going to stay focused and run this race with integrity,“ said Ford campaign supporter Revin Fellows.
Based on the demographics and the power of social media, Chicago could be in for some real surprises on Election Night.