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Kirk poll shows incumbent maintaining big lead; Plus, DCCC goes on the attack

Monday, Sep 15, 2008

* Mark Kirk’s campaign is floating some new poll results. Keep in mind that this has a margin of error of +/- 5.6 percent. From the executive summary

In a September 10-11 poll by McLaughlin & Associates, Rep. Kirk maintains a 22-point lead (51/29) in a rematch against Dan Seals. In IL-10, Senator Obama‚Äôs favorability rating has dropped from 67/26 in June to 59/32 in September. Kirk continues to be more popular than Obama with a fav/unfav rating of 63/20 while Dan Seals struggles at 40/22. A number of key Democratic-leaning groups endorsed Kirk including Planned Parenthood, the National Education Association, the National Wildlife Federation and the Human Rights Campaign. […]

Additionally, with the conviction of Tony Rezko and a possible indictment of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich looming, Seals must fight a strong local anti-Democratic headwind with Blagojevich’s fav/unfav sinking to a record low of 13/68.

If you’re above 50, you’re in decent shape. 51 isn’t completely safe, however. Negative attacks are flying (see below).

Also, I’m not convinced yet that Rod Blagojevich brings down Democrats all that much because RRB is not seen as a “normal” Democrat. He fights with his party so much and is so, well, bizarre at times that other Dems may not pay the price, along the lines of how Republicans didn’t really suffer from Alan Keyes’ presence in 2004. I could be wrong, but that’s my take so far. Argue this in comments and I’ll make sure to listen.

* And this is from the polling memo

Since our last poll three months ago, Dan Seals gained no ground on popular incumbent Mark Kirk in the general election for US Congress in Illinois’ 10th Congressional District, still trailing by a daunting 22 points. Kirk’s favorability rating (63%) is still very strong. Independent and Ticket Splitters who vote for the person not the party are in control of the race. The majority of voters in the district are very thoughtful and independent and demonstrate that by supporting both Senator Barack Obama and Congressman Mark Kirk.

* Head to head results

Congressional Ballot: If the election for US Congress were held today and the candidates were Mark Kirk, the Republican candidate, and Dan Seals, the Democrat candidate, for whom would you vote?

Mark Kirk 51%
Dan Seals 29%
Undecided 21%

Congressional Ballot Among “Ticket-Splitters”

Mark Kirk 56%
Dan Seals 9%
Undecided 35%

* More

* Methodology…

This Illinois 10th Congressional District survey was conducted among 300 likely general election voters between September 10 and 11, 2008. All interviews were conducted via telephone by professional interviewers. Interview selection was random within predetermined election units. These units were structured to correlate with actual voter turnout in a statewide general election. This survey of 300 likely voters has an accuracy of +/- 5.6% at a 95% confidence interval.

* Meanwhile, as mentioned above, the DCCC has released an ad blasting “rubber stamp Congressman” Mark Kirk…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Team America - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 12:55 pm:

    Most folks here know where I’m coming from, so I won’t waste a lot of space crowing about this latest poll, but I will point out that Kirk’s numbers have kept steady or even gotten better after months of steady, if uninspired, campaigning by Seals.

    The last significant earned media Seals got was his gas stunt, which most people agree was a flop, if not worse. Meanwhile, Kirk seems to make news on a weekly basis, even getting a mention in the Wall Street Journal. Seals, on the other hand, seems to have given up the media war and is willing to bet on the DCCC coming in to fund negative ads, like the “rubber stamp” ad–but DCCC will have to do a lot better than generic “Kirk=Bush” stuff to have a chance in the 10th.

    Kirk’s stellar favorables are there for a reason–most voters in the 10th know and like Kirk–and truly believe that he’s a independent thinker. What’s more, they like what he thinks, by and large.

    If Seals’ big strategy is to use out-of-district money to push down Kirk’s favorables, Kirk has a lot of ground to give way, and Seals doesn’t seem to have a plan to sell himself, which he’ll have to do in order to have a shot. The luster of Obama has tarnished enough lately that riding the anointed one’s coattails doesn’t seem to be much of a plan anymore, either.

  2. - George H.W. Bush - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:00 pm:

    35%R, 34%D, 30%I is the sample in the 10th district? You must be joking.

  3. - George H.W. Bush - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    And 85% of the sample is over age 40? LOL

  4. - ben - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:12 pm:

    At this point in 2006, Kirk released similar numbers. It wasn’t until October or so that we saw independent polling that put Seals within two points of Kirk. The voters that will decide this election–those out in the western part of the district and those in Waukegan and North Chicago–haven’t made up their minds yet, but once they do I predict they will break for Dan. I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t met Dan and not been wowed by him.

    (Full disclosure: I interned for Seals, but my last statement remains true; virtually every undecided or Kirk Democrat that I know of who has met Dan has come away with a positive impression of him. And Dan’s own polling from last cycle at this time showed him with a ten-point lead among people who knew of both candidates.)

  5. - Crockett - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    Amazing amount of Seals mailers coming to my house. 5 different ones just last week.

  6. - Shore - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:19 pm:

    A lot of McClaughlin’s Congressional clients had similar numbers in 2006 after labor day and they are now no longer in Congress.

    I also wonder what the Palin effect will be given that it’s not a district where a pro-life evangelical will play well.

  7. - Team America - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:22 pm:

    Ben- admittedly I’m biased towards Kirk as much as you probably are towards Seals, but riddle me this- what happened to all those folks you mention who apparently voted for Seals the last time and got Seals within 6 or 7 points? Did they move? Did they give up on Seals and now he must reach “new” undecideds? Or if they voted for Seals before, are they still unsure if they will support him again and are polling as “undecided”? At best, that doesn’t indicate a solid base for Danno.

    Starting 20 points behind in Sep. 2008 doesn’t equate to 20 points behind in Sep. 2006. Seals is not quite the unknown quantity he was 2 years ago, and if he can’t even keep his numbers up from where he started in Nov 2006 (especially given the awful climate for the GOP back then–and which I would argue is largely looking up now), where are all these mystery voters you refer to going to come from???

  8. - AnonPol - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:28 pm:

    I agree with TA. Seals has collapsed. If a candidate has ran a non stop campaign since last election where he came within a whisker of beating Kirk to only see his numbers FALL back to a worse point today than they were last cycle at this time I would say the guy peaked back in 2006. All those ad dollars wasted and nothing to show for it at best. The 10th is a quirky district indeed and the name of the game there is INDEPENDENT. D’s and R’s don’t mean a lot to the people inside the district even though people keep talking about how the district leans D. It probably does lean D but not to a game changing degree for a good solid moderate R like Kirk.

  9. - Go Green - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:32 pm:

    Well Ben, I’ve met Dan Seals, and he strikes me as completely typical.

    I predict that he will lose by a larger margin than he did in 2006 because he continues, like most Democrats, not to stand for anything.

    By successfully denying ballot access for Green Party candidate and veteran Dave Kalbfleisch, Seals has insured that he will have nobody to blame when he loses.

    Hopefully the 2010 Dem candidate won’t be another carpetbagger.

  10. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 1:55 pm:

    The poll sounds too high, but as expected, it shows Kirk winning easily, and that sounds about right.

    Sorry Seals, but being an also-ran just isn’t good enough for most voters. You have a launching pad, but you needed new fuel in that rocket to get anyone excited over you again. You seem to be “the other guy”, not an alternative.

  11. - 10th Indy - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 2:42 pm:

    RBB alone may not bring down dems but the Blago/Jones/Madigan/Dem-Controlled-Statehouse fiasco could hurt a lot - especially among 10th District voters who see a one-party monopoly as playing a significant role in a broken Springfield. It could help shorten Obama coat tails here and give ticket-splitters another reason to break Obama/Kirk.

  12. - Steve - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 2:43 pm:

    It’s difficult to believe those numbers,but heck I don’t claim to be an expert on that race.But,Dan Seals is certainly working hard and getting his campaign signs out in the district.He’s got a big,big presence on the Northshore.

  13. - PhilCollins - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 2:52 pm:

    Since the margin of error is 5.6%, Kirk’s support could be only 45.4%. Kirk’s supporters shouldn’t be very confident, yet. I hope that all anti-Seals voters will walk many precincts and ensure that Seals loses.

  14. - Team America - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 2:59 pm:

    Didn’t take long to come up with a response ad to directly counter the DCCC.

    Given Kirk’s huge amount of funds on hand, and assuming DCCC’s bankrolling of Seals continues, we can probably expect this tennis match of ads to continue until Nov.

  15. - Team America - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 3:05 pm:

    Wow. Try this link for a different response (seems like it’s more of an Internet-only type of thing) for a point-by-point rebuttal to the DCCC-Seals “rubber stamp” ad.

    That’s gotta be some kind of record for response time. Anyone who thought Kirk would be caught sleeping this time around is sorely mistaken.

  16. - State O Main - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    Seals needs to give the voters a reason to vote against Kirk. To this point he hasn’t.

    I would suggest introducing the wimp factor ala the original George Bush. Too wimpy to vote against the war, to wimpy to go against big oil ect. Whether true or not he comes across kinda wimpy and voters need a reason to oust an incumbant. Probably too late, but he needs to brand the guy otherwise-by by.

  17. - babs - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 5:27 pm:

    Kirk has been on tv forever, Seals nowhere. If he wasn’t showing up with high numbers, there would be heads rolling. The question is how deep the support is and whether it can as easily be influenced away from him.

  18. - P. - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 7:25 pm:

    Kirk is totally beatable and his poll shows it… Let’s see if the Seals crew gets the job done.

  19. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 15, 08 @ 8:02 pm:

    Kirk is well-liked. I’m under the impression that Seals’ base consists primarily of die-hard idealists, and he’s got just about everyone he’s going to hang on to. Reminds me of Ron Paul.

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 16, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    Seals is nothing like Ron Paul. Seals is a mouth piece. Ron Paul actually stands for something and backs it up with his actions.

  21. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 16, 08 @ 9:10 pm:

    Sorry, Anonymous 10:13. I wasn’t clear in my last post. I wasn’t comparing Seals to Paul. I was citing an example of where I think the numbers are.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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