CHICAGO (CBS) — The newest, independently-commissioned poll of Chicago Mayoral Candidates, tonight shows Rahm Emanuel far ahead of the other candidates in a crowded race for mayor.

But CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports that some other findings in the poll might be more surprising.

Out of the 2,200 pepole polled by the Chicago Retail Merchants Association – which does not yet support any of the candidates – 39% favored Emanuel.

His closest rival was former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun with 12%, followed by Gery Chicago at 9%, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis at 7%, and State Sen. James Meeks and City Clerk Miguel del Valle with 5% each.

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U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, who is unlikely to stay in the race, got 2%; all other candidates got just over 1% each.

However, 19% of those polled said they were unsure about their choice for mayor.

But perhaps most surprising was that Emanuel was the top choice of all racial and ethnic groups, with 52% of white voters, 32% of African American voters, and 28% of Hispanics.

Even so, all isn’t rosy for Emanuel, who was at Tuesday night’s Bulls-Lakers game in Los Angeles, where he’s celebrating the holiday with his top talent agent brother.

Not only did his Bulls lose, but he’s also now fighting at least two residency challenges filed on Wednesday.

One challenge was filed by Paul McKinley, a member of an ex-offenders group with no candidate affiliation.

“If you’re already going into office breaking the law, then you are already setting a pattern, setting an atmosphere and a tone that its business as usual,” McKinley said.

The Emanuel campaign has sent a detailed e-mail to its supporters, claiming “political games are being played to limit your choices for mayor.”

On a conference call late Wednesday afternoon, attorney Rich Prendergast – an Emanuel campaign expert – raised a new defense saying, “Illinois law says once you establish legal residence you have to abandon it, courts look to intent of the candidate, and Rahm never intended to make Washington a permanent home.”

At least one more challenge is expected to be filed on Friday.

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