Posted by Barton Lorimor
A poll of 600 likely voters conducted by the Tribune and WGN resulted in a tie between Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk, but the same survey showed a high amount of indecisiveness…
The softness in support opens the door for third-party candidates to play a spoiler role in the close contest. LeAlan Jones, the Green Party candidate, had 6 percent and Libertarian Party candidate Mike Labno had 3 percent in the survey. The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Many Republican-leaning voters are undecided about the previously little-known Kirk, whose ability to push his credentials has been hampered by revelations that he embellished his military record. Kirk, who has not been warmly embraced by conservatives, could lose much-needed support if Labno can raise his name recognition among disaffected voters.
Twenty-two percent of the participants said they were undecided.
POLITICO picked up on the trend as well as Constitution Party candidate Randy Stufflebeam fights to get back on the ballot…
In recent Illinois statewide contests, third-party candidates have not had an impact on the final vote, but the Democratic stronghold has not seen a close gubernatorial or Senate contest in more than a decade. Public polls show an extremely close race between Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, and the most recent Rasmussen Reports survey from late August showed the candidates tied with 45 percent each and 6 percent planning to vote for other candidates.
Furthermore, after a lackluster performance in the GOP primary downstate, Kirk needs to do well there with Republicans to boost his bid. Not only is Stufflebeam from that region, but he’s also more conservative than Kirk on several issues: He is anti-abortion, while Kirk favors abortion rights, and Stufflebeam is against the cap-and-trade legislation that the congressman voted for in 2009.
More from the Tribune poll…
So Kirk has the Independent vote right now 34-23. He’s likely to pick-up more of the 23 percent of undecided voters in downstate Illinois given that it is more Republican and probably a decent chunk of collar counties. On the other hand, Giannoulias needs to find a way to connect with Democratic heavy Cook County. He could pull 50 percent of the undecided vote from that region alone.
Giannoulias also has a chance to pick-up support from black voters, which usually goes for the Democrats. He has 58 percent now, but another 26 percent is sitting there waiting to be claimed. The trick is he can’t go out so far that he looses the white vote.
I’ll see if anyone is on campus today that might be able to provide an experienced opinion of this poll.
One more graphic from the Tribune:
Both candidates have opportunity to gain support by this break down. Roughly 20 percent of the participants in this poll said they had never heard of either candidate, which is likely to change now that the campaigns are going to pick-up steam after Labor Day.
Speaking of which, Dr. John Jackson, who is a visiting professor down here at the Paul Simon Institute, wrote about the September campaign kick-off for the Institute’s blog.
* Giannoulias, Kirk Remain Deadlocked in Illinois
* Poll: Giannoulias, Kirk are neck and neck
* If the GOP wins, let the back-stabbing and infighting begin
* Politics of Wall Street: Race for ‘Obama’ Senate Seat
* Kirk calls for new limits on federal spending
* Mark Kirk Increasingly Brings Up Greek Financial Crisis To Criticize His Greek Opponent Alexi Giannoulias
* Sen. Mark Warner to headline Giannoulias fund-raiser