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Poll: 40-40 US Senate race, and the Libertarian Party may make the cut

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* A new poll by Rasmussen Reports shows the US Senate race all tied up. Results in brackets are from July 26, July 7, June 7, April 28, April 5, March 8 and February 3…

Kirk: 40 [41%, 39%, 42% 46%, 41%, 41%, 46%]

Giannoulias: 40 [43%, 40%, 39% 38%, 37%, 44%, 40%]

Other: 8 [6%, 9%, 7% 5%, 8%, 5%, 4%]

Unsure: 12 [10%, 12%, 12% 12%. 13%, 10%, 10%]

From the pollster…

Kirk earns support from 76% of Republicans, while Giannoulias is backed by 70% of Democrats. Kirk leads by better than two-to-one lead among voters not affiliated with either major political party in Illinois. […]

Kirk is viewed Very Favorably by 10% of Illinois voters and Very Unfavorably by 20%, up six points over the past two weeks.

Giannoulias’ ratings are 11% Very Favorable, up four points from late July, and 28% Very Unfavorable, also up slightly from the previous survey.

At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters in the state approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 46% disapprove. This level of support has held steady in recent months and is well above Obama’s approval ratings nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

Kirk’s “Very Unfavorable” upward movement has to be troubling for that campaign. The crosstabs have Giannoulias leading among moderates by six points.

* Other questions…

* How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as President… do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the job he’s been doing?
35% Strongly approve
19% Somewhat approve
9% Somewhat disapprove
37% Strongly disapprove
0% Not sure

* How would you rate the job Pat Quinn has been doing as Governor… do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the job he’s been doing?
10% Strongly approve
26% Somewhat approve
23% Somewhat disapprove
37% Strongly disapprove
3% Not sure

* TPM PollTracker

* Methodology

The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Illinois was conducted on August 9, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

* Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party may make it onto the ballot here

Looks like a Libertarian will join Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk on the November U.S. Senate ballot.

The word from insiders in both major parties is that the Libertarian Party’s Michael Labno has pretty well fended off challenges to his nominating petitions, throwing a potential curve into what is now viewed as a very tight race.

Sources say the electrical construction project manager now has several thousand ballot signatures more than he needs, and while a few more days are left for further action, the State Board of Elections is about done.

Mr. Labno, who was not available for comment, is a pretty conservative fellow who should please both Tea Party anti-government types and social conservatives.

That could be quite interesting. The conservative Constitution Party is barely holding on. We’ll know more next week.

posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 9:44 am


  1. Well, finally this race begins. 0-0 in the top of the first.

    Comment by Cincinnatus Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 9:53 am

  2. The polls indicates that voters questioned are not sold on either candidate.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 9:58 am

  3. Kirk let Alexi back in the ballgame with his “misrememberings.” You have to believe this will breath some life into Alexi’s fundraising. And Obama still has legs in Illinois.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:00 am

  4. Rich, I think something may be up with your email. I didn’t get Monday or today’s edition.

    Comment by its just me Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:07 am

  5. “Kirk’s “Very Unfavorable” upward movement has to be troubling for that campaign.”

    Sure, but it’s his fault and the fault of his campaign! Instead of being straight-up and clearing the air, Kirk ill-advisedly decided to duck, dodge and evade when asked about inconsistencies in his past and with his the year in which blago is up for trial, and especially when your opponent is Alexi G., credibility is a very key issue.

    how kirk and his campaign mishandled everything was so stupid. there’s no excuse for it–kirk has been around long enough to know better even if his campaign manager et al. (still in rompers????)didn’t.

    if Kirk manages to win, it won’t be because he ran a stellar or even good campaign. while i’m sure team kirk will pat themselves on the back and celebrate, they shouldn’t.

    Comment by Will County Woman Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:07 am

  6. Well, you know, if Mark Kirk were more libertarian, and hadn’t backed cap and trade, and such a staunch position in favor the War on Drugs, he might not be in this predicament.

    Diss Libertarians, and even libertarian Republicans, and you risk losing libertarian support. Simple as that.

    Eric Dondero, Publisher

    Comment by Eric Dondero Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:09 am

  7. “its just me,” others are getting it. Send me an email and we’ll see what’s going on.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:11 am

  8. @ Will County Woman
    You are absolutely right!

    Kirk should win because he is the better candidate and the only candidate who should be considered qualified for the job. That being said the failures of his campaign staff have been unbelievable.

    Comment by A.B. Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:13 am

  9. Kirk got a big fundraising boost because of the special which, if I recall correctly, let’s him raise money for both the special and the general (i.e. double his institutional money). Since Alexi has said no to institutional money, he likely won’t benefit as much. This may let Kirk expand his 4-1 money advantage to 6-1 if he’s lucky.

    It’ll be curious how much the “none of the above” vote says things with both a Green and a Libertarian on the ballot.

    Comment by John Bambenek Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:24 am

  10. It’s a mixed bag for the congressman. He’s maintaining the conservative support despite a record on social issues which is against them in every way. That’s a huge deal.

    On the other hand, the fact that he’s tied with someone he should be blowing out and losing the moderate vote is unthinkable and not a good sign. He’s had 14 months to travel around the state and has been mostly received as a moderate so the fact that’s not sinking in after all this time should be troubling.

    Comment by shore Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:24 am

  11. @JB
    While I would like to see Kirk expand his money lead like that, I doubt that is realistic. AG should get a boost from the President and the recent polling being so close. If Kirk hits Labor Day up 2 - 1 or 3 - 1 his supporters should be absolutely thrilled.

    Comment by A.B. Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:27 am

  12. Right now voters want stability. Neither candidate looks stable.

    Durbin, even though we all know he is to the left of most voters, is more attractive right now because of his stability, than either Kirk or Giannoulais.

    There is an opening right now for either candidate to start presenting themself as commanding and stable, sure and in control. As a Congressman, Kirk has an edge here. He is also now saying “no”, instead of compromising, and that is also going to help him project to voters that he stands for something.

    Kirk is a compromiser at a time when voters seem to want to see guts. Kirk is remarkably gutless.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:30 am

  13. VMan, aren’t you the one who’s been talking that the voters are going to throw the bums out? Now you say they want the status quo?

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:36 am

  14. What’s good for Kirk, no question, is his cash on hand advantage. Alexi needs to close that up or he’s gonna get murdered on the airwaves.

    On the other hand, Kirk just gift-wrapped Alexi another nice attack, with his recent vote on the $26 billion jobs bill to help keep teachers in the classroom, and on top of that, his weird 24-hour reversal.

    “Mark Kirk: he was for the jobs bill, before he was against it.”

    Comment by ZC Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:42 am

  15. 2008 is way over. The current status quo isn’t working. Throw them all out. Voters want a challenger who has a stable vision different from today. This is turning out to be a very rare election year where the last election results are being rejected.

    We saw this over a Century ago during the Long Recession, we saw Congress flipping again from GOP control to Democratic control back to GOP control again. Voters are not seeing economic progress after voting for it in back in 2008. So, voters are hustling to vote out the guys they elected two years ago.

    As long as we economically slide around without stability, voters may keep throwing incumbents out of office until it reoccurs.

    That’s my take on it.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:49 am

  16. ZC - you mean the “jobs” bill (a/k/a teacher union gift) that is partially paid for by massive cuts to food stamps, and other tricks? Let’s see how well this bill actually looks when the dust settles.

    Comment by Team America Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 11:06 am

  17. Is my memory playing tricks on me or does 538’s analysis show that Rasmussen’s polls tend to overstate Republican support? These numbers could be great news to Alexi. So would having a Libertarian on the ballot.

    What a weird state we live in.

    Comment by Draznnl (Rhymes with orange) Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 11:07 am

  18. this is what i expect. i actually think this will be an extraordinarily tight race, coming down to who has the better gotv operation and election day…

    Comment by bored now Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 12:00 pm

  19. If they had included Jones, he would probably poll about 14-16%. In other words, this poll is complete garbage.

    Comment by PFK Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 12:56 pm

  20. PFK, that’s nonsense. “Other” and “undecided” total 20 percent. Jones is a total unknown.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 12:58 pm

  21. Here is what we have all been waiting for….Gags Brady & Mike Steele hookin’ up…..
    WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee (RNC) today announced its Illinois D2H Victory campaign to establish the grassroots political operation to ensure Republican candidates are successful in November. In partnership with the Illinois Republican Party (IL GOP), the RNC is providing funding and resources to build the in-state GOP structure to support Republican leaders.

    The RNC will devote the resources necessary to enhance the IL GOP’s ability to effectively reach Republican voters and tap into the state’s grassroots volunteer base. This investment in Republican state parties is a critical part of the RNC’s Delaware to Hawaii (“D2H”) strategy to compete aggressively in all fifty states.

    “In a coordinated effort to take back Illinois, the RNC is excited to be partnering with the IL GOP to win all races from the bottom of the ballot to the top,” said RNC Chairman Michael Steele. “The accomplishments of the Republican Party start with the energized volunteers who go door-to-door, make phone calls, attend events, and reach out to Republican voters in their own communities and neighborhoods. Republicans in Illinois are sending a clear message to Pat Quinn, Alexi Giannoulias, Debbie Halvorson, Bill Foster, Dan Seals and Phil Hare along with other Democrats across the state that it’s time to change the tax, borrow and spend policies of President Obama that are killing our economy and pushing our children and grandchildren further into debt.”

    “I would like to thank Chairman Steele for providing the IL GOP with these unprecedented and vital resources as we inch closer toward November. This sophisticated victory operation will help capture the overwhelming support Republicans are seeing day-in and day-out, and harness the displeasure of the big government agenda of Democrats across the state and in Washington,” said Pat Brady, Chairman of the IL GOP. “Voters across Illinois couldn’t be more energized and ready to fight for their candidates this November and I am excited to be a part of it. These resources are further proof that Chairman Steele and the RNC are invested heavily in Bill Brady, Mark Kirk….”

    First Beck and the other guy in the white sheet and now Steele
    BTW I hear StateWideTom’s man Beck was raving today for states to reject the education and Medicaid money.
    How about fellow GOPers?

    Comment by CircularFiringSquad Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 12:58 pm

  22. - A.B. - Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 10:13 am:

    “That being said the failures of his campaign staff have been unbelievable.”

    I understand from some of my sources that Kirk tends to be a bit of a micromanager…

    Comment by Cincinnatus Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 1:04 pm

  23. A bit? lol

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 1:06 pm

  24. –You have to believe this will breath some life into Alexi’s fundraising.–

    Alexi was up 2 points in the last Rassmussen poll and is now dead even. How does that excite the money people? Or am I missing something.

    Comment by RikiTavi Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 1:26 pm

  25. This has always been Kirks race to lose in my opinion, and Kirk is doing just that. The addition of a true conservative canidate could pull something like 2-5% of the total vote from Kirk. In a tight race that could be critical.

    But Kirk has a large cash advantage which will allow him to saturate the airwaves before the election and open this race back up to a wide margin.

    Comment by Ghost Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 1:27 pm

  26. In Illinois, where the Prez still has above normal approval and where Ds control every office, this race should have been a shoe-in for Kirk? Really? Even with the Alexi bank stuff, Kirk should have been OUT of this race after all his dissembling about his military record. Instead, Alexi & Co. are helping to keep him right in the hunt.

    Comment by RikiTavi Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 1:39 pm

  27. Is Mark Kirk the micromanager or is it the McCracken?


    Comment by John Bambenek Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 1:57 pm

  28. “If they had included Jones, he would probably poll about 14-16%. In other words, this poll is complete garbage. ”

    The idea that a candidate that raised less than 2 grand during the first half of the year and is unknown by most of the state has a shot at this election is a fantasy on the part of the Green Party.

    Comment by RMW Stanford Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 2:22 pm

  29. I can tell you that Kirk is not a micro-manager. Others maybe, but not Kirk. He knows what is going on and strives to be up to speed, but micro-manager would not be an accurate description. He relies on and trusts his staff, as a good leader should.

    Comment by A.B. Wednesday, Aug 11, 10 @ 2:49 pm

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