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Tribune poll: Giannoulias, Kirk tied; 22 percent undecided

Friday, Sep 3, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

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


  1. - 4 percent - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 11:33 am:

    With all due respect to Mother Tribune, their polling and results are antiquated and fairly useless. How did that huge Jim Ryan lead work out for them in their polling? 600 samples in a statewide is relatively insignificant.

    Does anyone REALLY thing that 18 percent of voters know who Mike Labno is and 25 percent have heard of LaAlen Jones? Come on…

  2. - Justice - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 11:50 am:

    This is one of those ‘hold your nose and vote’ situations. We are likely to see Kirk get the vote as people are looking for change and he is in the ‘out party’.

    Kirk will likely pour in a lot of negative ads toward the end. Properly focused they can be effective.

  3. - Bill Baar - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 11:50 am:

    Likely voters would know GREEN and LIBERTARIAN parties. I’m guess a lot of undecideds and ambivelent LVs would just pick the OTHER parties.

  4. - bored now - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 11:51 am:

    now that rubio has dropped out of the “meet the press” debate, i’d venture a guess that kirk will do the same thing. kirk doesn’t want to face the easy questions that voters down state would toss him, he certainly won’t be prepared for the notoriously difficult questions that meet the press is known for.

    alexi, though, has been in the fire. not sure he really enjoys it, but he won’t run away from them. which bodes well for his service in the senate, because i don’t think the next few years are going to be much fun there…

  5. - just sayin' - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 11:59 am:

    One of Mark Kirk’s problems is that he’s been caught lying so many times, only the most gullible patsies will believe anything he says going forward. Kirk’s credibility is completely gone. The “mob banker” looks good in comparison.

    Too bad the Dems didn’t nominate David Hoffman. This race would have been over long ago.

  6. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:05 pm:

    CommandoMakeItUp’s downastate will start dropping once voters get a little taste of his liberal politics. Even StateWideTom Cross will not be able to boost him up

  7. - Niles Township - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:07 pm:

    This Dem plans to vote Kirk. I compare the too and while each has weaknesses and issues, I see Kirk being stronger than Alexi in that he has actually has a record of accomplishment on the envrironment, foreign policy, national defense, choice etc. Alexi has had less than four years as Illinois’ Treasurer a position he received only because his was fortunate to be the son of banker which enabled him to self-fund and to make connections like the Sen. Obama. We whine about partisanship. Well, I want more Dems and GOPers in the middle willing to compromise, not on the extremes. For that reason, this Dem will be behind Kirk. I won’t be the only one. 1/3 of Dems have yet to get behind Alexi.

  8. - DuPage Dave - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:28 pm:

    This is how many people see the Senate race: Giannoulias is basically a mope. Kirk is fundamentally a liar. The poll results suggest it will be a hold-your-nose coin flip in the voting booth for many voters.

    Also- any Dem who votes for Kirk ain’t no Dem.

  9. - Niles Township - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:38 pm:

    Also- any Dem who votes for Kirk ain’t no Dem

    Dupage Dan:

    What do you know? Kirk has enjoyed the support of many Dems in his congressional district for years. He won’t enjoy that same level of support statewide, but it will be more than Brady, trust me. I’ve only taken a Dem primary ballot my whole life including this past primary when I voted for Hoffman in the primary. I’ll be voting for Kirk alongside Gov. Quinn. I assume I won’t be alone.

  10. - dupage dan - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    Niles Township,

    Please address your response to the right party. You were responding to DuPage Dave, not DuPage Dan. I am DuPage Dan, a handle I have had for far longer than DuPage Dave has had his. I don’t understand why the Dave from DuPage character chose a handle so similar to mine (especially since he seems to be on the left side politically while I lean more to the right) but it’s a free country. It isn’t that hard to see the difference, actually. I am used to being mistaken for Dave as I have a brother by that name and have been called by that name on more than one occasion. While not as nice a name as Daniel, it is passable in polite society.

  11. - KeepSmiling - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:56 pm:

    Niles T, vote for whomever you prefer, and call yourself whatever you want. The parties don’t mean anything (in Illinois anymore) - they are just an entrenched system of two teams of politicians, and the teams aren’t functioning well anymore. It’s like watching a game of the Cubs playing the Cubs.

  12. - Niles Township - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:58 pm:

    Please address your response to the right party. You were responding to DuPage Dave, not DuPage Dan

    My apologies for the mistake. Ejoy your Labor Day weekend Dupage Dave.

  13. - Niles Township - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 12:59 pm:

    It’s like watching a game of the Cubs playing the Cubs.

    That is the line of the week.

  14. - Excessively Rabid - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:16 pm:

    Both candidates leave much to be desired, but the discussion is overly centered on their personal qualifications. It’s more important which party holds the seat. The GOP and Dem congressional agendas are very different. I lean toward Kirk because I think always having two Democrats in the Senate is not a fair or accurate representation of the opinions or interests of the state. On the other hand, I would be horrified by a replay of some of the bigoted and foolish things Republican majorities have done or tried to do in the past.

  15. - bored now - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:22 pm:

    Niles Township opines:

    Well, I want more Dems and GOPers in the middle willing to compromise, not on the extremes. For that reason, this Dem will be behind Kirk. I won’t be the only one. 1/3 of Dems have yet to get behind Alexi.

    you’re clearly not familiar with washington. if you believe that mark kirk will be able to “compromise” with democrats after the flat-out lies he told members of congress about weapons of mass destruction and his own “experience” which made him more of an authority than they were, then you are clearly deluded.

    now, i don’t believe that you’re as delusional as you imply. i think you need a reason to justify a conclusion that you’ve made, and so you just made stuff up. and you’re with the right candidate, because that’s what he’d do!

    but there is zero — as in no — chance that mark kirk will have any ability to negotiate with democrats. even if people in illinois are just getting to know mark kirk and his pattern of lying to make himself look good (something that any sane person has to question, given his real resume), people in washington, d.c. have long been aware of this. and they won’t be taken in; they *aren’t* from illinois. a vote for mark kirk is a vote for mitch mcconnell. nothing more, nothing less. and, unlike the house, mitch mcconnell will have mark kirk on a short leash, just as he does susan collins, etc.

    you may be fooled, but don’t try to fool democrats. illinois isn’t better served by a slave to the southern republican conservative leadership. we’re a loser in that case (but i completely respect your choice to sacrifice this state so that mitch mcconnell can make barack obama’s presidency difficult)…

  16. - Siriusly - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:22 pm:

    There’s little doubt in my mind that Kirk will still win, but this poll is indicative of how disliked he really is and the lying about his record scandals have permanently damaged his reputation in our state.

    He could take over more than just this seat from Burris. He could also quickly become the Senator with the lowest home-state approval rating and I’m certain he’ll draw a strong challenger in 2016.

  17. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    I think this Greek army draft-dodging charge against Alexi will put Kirk over the top. The Greek army is really where you separate the men from the boys. Somehow.

  18. - Niles Township - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:34 pm:

    just as he does susan collins, etc.


    Ummm…I guess I am familiar enough DC to know that Susan Collins was the deciding vote, or among them, on a number of legislative accomplishments of the president. I’ve not saying Kirk is the messiah, but common compared to Alexi. If this was Hofffman, Kirk, I probably would be voting for Hoffman. But this Hoffman isn’t this race, so I am have to settle for Kirk.

  19. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:36 pm:

    Does anyone have a link to the cross-tabs?

  20. - Niles Township - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:37 pm:

    Incidentally, Bored Now, your reactionary divisive missive is exactly why I want more people who are not on the extremes of both parties. If I had my druthers, I’d throw out the lunatic right wing fringe of the GOP as well as the Daily Kos wing of the Dems. Neither serves the nation well. Old warhorses, long since retired from Congress used to get along famously and make decent compromises despite their party. I long for those days, not the type of DC you allege to know.

  21. - bored now - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:43 pm:

    once again, because not everybody has the intelligence to accept truth, i remind you that not only was i a republican, but president reagan gave me my first presidential appointment (i know, i know, reagan doesn’t count in illinois) and i worked for a number of years for the majority leader (bob dole). so calling me an extremist (that is, if you meant the left) only betrays your intelligence.

    kirk is a stupid choice on the facts. something that you seem oddly oblivious to, but they remain the facts, nonetheless…

  22. - Niles Township - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 1:48 pm:

    I am intellegent enough to know not to judge someone’s intellegence or other standing based on a blog post. I am intellegent enough to have hold a doctorate, to have graduated from one of the top universities in the country to have worked with local, state and federal government officials on a number of projects and to not get into any further personal debate with you. I’ll debate you on the merits of why a Dem can vote for Kirk, but I will not continue the conversation with someone who resorts to unprovoked personal attacks which so far have including my lack of intellgence and accusing me of lying.

  23. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 2:21 pm:

    In light of this memo:

    Is Alexi going to renounce his Greek citizenship? If not, he will be unable to receive classified briefings. This would seriously hinder his ability to represent the citizens of Illinois in national security matters.

    Anyone in the media willing to ask Alexi? Rich?

  24. - Bill - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 2:28 pm:

    Hey Niles,
    For someone with all of those degrees,from one of the top universities in the country no less, you sure can mangle a simple sentence, you live in Niles Township and you are voting for Quinn. How smart can you really be?
    As for you bored, working for Reagan and Dole is hardly something to brag about.
    To the question, my money is still on Alexi because Kirk is a liar, DC insider,and sellout who will say and do anything to get elected. It is ok to lie once in a while but he was stupid enough to get caught which makes him unqualified to hold elective office.

  25. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 2:42 pm:

    –Is Alexi going to renounce his Greek citizenship? If not, he will be unable to receive classified briefings. This would seriously hinder his ability to represent the citizens of Illinois in national security matters.–

    I thought yesterday this whole Greek thing was a gag. I still do, but the joke’s on those who peddle this as a serious question.

  26. - D.P. Gumby - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 3:37 pm:

    Query–What will the country look like w/ a Repub Senate? So far it has been just say No. Will it change to a just pass looney stuff on top of just say No to everything else?

  27. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 3:51 pm:


    “I thought yesterday this whole Greek thing was a gag. I still do, but the joke’s on those who peddle this as a serious question.”

    Alexi’s dodge of the Greek draft is small potatoes, I agree. But it speaks volumes that you think that Alexi’s inability to receive a classified security briefing as part of his job as a Senator is a non-issue. A Senator’s ability to make an informed decision about matters like going to war and anti-terrorism is one of the most solemn and important duties that an elective official can make, far more important than naming a new post office after Roland Burris (who by the way can be briefed on national security issues).

    While you may think that other issues are more important than this, I feel this is an issue that merits investigation and discussion. Unless Alexi is willing to denounce his dual citizenship immediate, I feel he is disqualified as a serious Senatorial candidate.

    The question you should be asking is, “Will the MSM investigate this issue?” If it is hogwash, let’s hear why. If it is valid, let’s hear Alexi speak on why his dual citizenship is more important than representing this state.

  28. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    D. P. Gumby,

    It is my sincerest hope that with a Republican Congress, Obama will be motivated to work with them on the major issues we have today, in a manner similar to Clinton’s move to the right after the 1994 elections. The tensions between Clinton and the Republicans resulted in major reforms, and led to a strong economy and nation.

    Right now, given the results of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda, and in spite of the resistance to the agenda by the majority of America, saying NO is the right thing to do. Furthermore, your premise that all the Republicans are doing is saying no shows that the meme being promoted by the MSM has sunk into you. Be advised, there are several Republican plans that are being discussed on topics ranging from entitlement reform, the economy and many other topics. Just because they haven’t been widely reported doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The 1994 Republican revolution did not introduce the Contract for America until the final weeks of the campaign. I predict if you pay attention, you will see another set of overarching proposals publicized by Republicans in the next month.

  29. - bored now - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:19 pm:

    niles, you’re absolutely full of it. make all the ridiculous claims you want, but expect to be called on them. by my count, that calls into question your intelligence (it’s not that difficult to get a doctorate, merely time consuming, and neither makes you intelligent).

    your reasons for voting for mark kirk where based entirely on wishful thinking and faulty logic. one notes that you have absolutely nothing to say in defense of your “rational” (although i’m sure you think it makes sense). it is a simple fact that mark kirk lied to other members of congress about wmds and why he should be listened to about their presence in iraq. you won’t find that many other members who have so boldly lied to their brethern; you’ll find NO ONE willing to be influenced by someone who does.

    mark kirk started lying to the other members of congress almost the moment he arrived. he has no influence on anyone else holding the office, a fact not likely to change on a different side of the hill. kirk will have no opportunity to win over, let alone negotiate, with the members of the “other party” in the senate. it doesn’t take a doctorate to understand why. so the real question is why you’d try to pawn this crap off on what is supposed to be the smartest commenters in illinois.

    maybe you’re just having a bad day. but don’t be insulted because i pointed out the flawed logic of your comment. it lacked intelligence. if you say that you are intelligent, then perhaps you shouldn’t try to bull**it us…

  30. - bored now - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:23 pm:

    Bill, i’m sorry you think it’s a bad thing to have worked with reagan and dole. i’m proud of my association with both men, and i won’t back down just because i live in illinois. both political parties have warped views of the other, something i know first-hand, but i’ve given up trying to change people’s minds about that.

    i’d love to relay d.c. impressions of kirk (because they’d make the point so much clearer), but rich would ban me for life…

  31. - bored now - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:30 pm:

    Cincinnatus writes:

    It is my sincerest hope that with a Republican Congress, Obama will be motivated to work with them on the major issues we have today, in a manner similar to Clinton’s move to the right after the 1994 elections.

    i guess the day before labor day weekend is the day for wishful thinking. feel free to explain why you think that republicans would be willing to work with this president. i see no evidence of that.

    the difference between republicans in congress now and the republicans in 1994 is that we had a governing agenda back then. you can focus on the house all you like, but the gop senate drove what passed out of congress. newt had a veto, but the senate in 1995 and 1996 drove what got passed. it drove the house absolutely nuts.

    there is no real governing agenda today. the closest that republicans have is paul ryan’s manifesto, and i don’t see too many republicans lining up to support it. nope, republicans now are more like sherman’s march on atlanta — slash and burning everything in their way. they have no intention of working with this president, in hopes of propelling a republican to the white house in 2012. mark kirk is merely a pawn in this scenario…

  32. - bored now - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:31 pm:

    hmmm, should have included an end of the blockquote there. hopefully, you’ll be able to tell where cincinnatus leaves off and i begin…

  33. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:41 pm:

    bored now,

    “there is no real governing agenda today”

    I reiterate, watch this space. Within the next month I predict you WILL see a Republican agenda. There will be a lot of NOs to be sure, cap and trade, card check dead. I think the Republicans will try to repeal ObamaCare, in accordance with the wishes of an overwhelming majority of Americans, and failing that will defund the effort in the House. The Republicans have be calling for the extension of the Bush tax cuts for roughly ever. It wouldn’t surprise me if the lame duck does it (Obama tax cuts?) or it will be among the first bills passed in the House.

    And don’t forget, Clinton worked with the Republicans as much as they with he. Ask yourself if Obama has the integrity, or inclination to modify his beliefs in any way. His behavior to date does not lead me to belief he will, or can. We shall see who stops efforts at compromise.

    Finally about Kirk being a pawn. His moderate voting record in Congress has been a sore spot for conservatives since he decided to run for Senate. Who better to act as a bridge between the parties, especially on environmental and energy issues. Certainly you don’t believe that Alexi can in any way, shape or form, act as a leader on anything. All he will be is a lock-step vote with the liberal agenda. We might as well give Durbin two votes, and save the salary and benefit costs of sending Alexi to Congress.

  34. - 'Cause they all look alike - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:43 pm:

    Anybody else absolutely hate the data graphics with which the Tribune chose to illustrate this polling info?

    – MrJM

  35. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Sep 3, 10 @ 4:43 pm:

    And please someone correct all of my typing errors. Pretty please?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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