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Two brief insights on new Kirk poll

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* The election is a long way away, but this new poll has some merit for at least two reasons

A new poll reveals that incumbent GOP U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is locked in a dead heat against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who holds the slimmest of leads, in a 2016 general election contest.

The survey of 1,003 Illinois voters, commissioned by The Illinois Observer and conducted by We Ask America on Thursday, December 18 with a +/- 3% margin of error, has Duckworth leading Kirk 45.59-45.02%, with 9.39% undecided.

1) Kirk might be in for a real race; and 2) People are just done with Gov. Pat Quinn

Meanwhile, Kirk is swamping soon-to-be ex-Governor Pat Quinn 55.0-35.7% with 9.3% undecided.

60 percent of indies and 21 percent of Democrats back Kirk over Quinn in this poll.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - William j Kelly - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    With all the wall street banksters for Kirk that is one race you don’t want to bust the caps in! Or do you? Thoughts?

  2. - tominchicago - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    I have always thought that Kirk had a very steep challenge to get re-elected. First, he won in an overwhelmingly GOP-friendly year (2010) against an incredibly flawed Democrat (Giannoulis)and still only won by less than 2% and did not even get 50% of the vote. This time he will be running in a presidential year against what one hopes is a good candidate (I still think that Lisa Madigan runs). I think that there is a good chance that the crazy wing of the ILGOP runs against him in the primary. I do believe that Alan Keyes is angling for a comeback.

  3. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    It’s interesting for certain, but voters generally know very little about Tammy Duckworth. What they do know is very positive and patriotic. In my opinion, this is % the zenith of her popularity. Neither of them are great on the stump speech circuit. Comparing their voting records would help Kirk.

  4. - Shore - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    there were always a few problems with these early polls against mark kirk.

    1)Finding someone who wants to run against him (hello Susan Garrett, Lisa Madigan, ect). Duckworth won’t have a plum obama gig to fall back on if she loses, nor would any of the other folks.

    2)Democrats could never figure out how to run against him. Do they trash our state’s junior united senator as a tool of the far right, a career washingtonian, or do they hit him as a moderate squish?

    3)Pat Quinn if he wants a future in public life-I think his legacy is currently as a ford after nixon type guy who took a bullet-should end his tenure as governor with a bit more class-and can look to mark dayton in minnesota as someone who left a statewide office unpopular but learned and came back. He’s also in his mid 60s.

  5. - Bogey Golfer - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Looks like Pat’s going to need to begin booking press conferences on Sundays again.

  6. - Very Fed Up - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    It’s amazing Quinn got as close as he did for governor given his track record. Hopefully someone well respected like Bill Foster will step up for the challenge. In a presidential election year a good campaign will beat Kirk.

  7. - Arsenal - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    “Finding someone who wants to run against him”

    I really don’t think you’re going to have to look too far and wide to find a Democrat who wants to run for Senate in IL in a Presidential election year. Jeez, look at how fast Duckworth swatted down the “She may not run” rumors.

  8. - URL - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    I’m most interested in seeing how Kirk would do in a primary poll of Republicans against a named right wing challenger. (Getting 89 percent of Republicans while matched against a liberal Dem doesn’t tell us much.) Can a conservative primary candidate beat Kirk or pull him so far right he can’t recover his moderate reputation by the General Election? That is the main question for the 2016 Senate race.

  9. - The Captain - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    The final WAA poll of the 2014 Governor’s race missed the actual margin by about 9 points. Rauner won by just under 4% while the WAA poll had Quinn by about 5%.

  10. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    I don’t think those numbers will deter Quinn much. His entire adult life has been about getting into public office, or getting BACK into public office, and I doubt he’s ready to hang it up.

    As for a Kirk/Duckworth potential race, Rep. Duckworth’s record would really be open to examination for the first time on a big stage, as she’s mostly gotten by on personal goodwill and her work on veterans’ issues to date. Step into a Senate race and the entire record will have to hold up. One positive of that potential race it is should take the respective issues of fitness and ability to serve off the table, especially with Sen. Kirk as I suspect there are some lingering doubts, rightly or wrongly, in the electorate as to his recovery.

  11. - Conservative Veteran - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Like URL, I want to see a poll that asks republican primary voters whom they’ll support in the primary. Chad Koppie said that he’ll probably run. I read that Congressman Roskam and former Congressman Walsh might run. I think that any of them can defeat Kirk, in the primary, since the majority of republican primary voters are more conservative than he is.

    The Republican will win the general election with 49% or 50%. A Republican will be elected president, and he or she will have coattails.

  12. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==- The Captain - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 12:48 pm:==

    Polls can be wrong. In other news, Chicago hasn’t had much sun this December.

  13. - Jibba - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    Seriously? Someone is putting Quinn’s name out there for senate? Other than Quinn?

  14. - Pat C - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    well respected like Bill Foster

    Who, in a very gerrymandered district, got 53% against an underfunded nobody.

    I am not sure Mark K. will sweat a lot if Foster is his opponent.

  15. - Not Alan Keyes - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    Id be interested in how Roskam, Schock, or Kinsinger would poll. Could be interesting

  16. - VanillaMan - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Kirk is very vulnerable.
    He is probably the weakest of all the GOP senators running in 2010.

    Senator Kirk? Please start showing everyone what you’ve done since 2010 while in office. Because frankly, I can’t think of a thing and that is a problem.

    Expectations are higher in the senate than in the house and so far, you’re not meeting them - let alone exceeding them.

  17. - Arsenal - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    “The Republican will win the general election with 49% or 50%. A Republican will be elected president, and he or she will have coattails.”

    The Republican Presidential nominee won’t even campaign in Illinois besides stopping by Chicago to cash some checks every three months. Kirk will have to run 5-10% ahead of the Presidential candidate to win.

    If a “conservative” beats Kirk in the primary, they will throw that seat away.

  18. - Arsenal - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    “He is probably the weakest of all the GOP senators running in 2010.”

    There’s Ron Johnson, but he might luck out with a weaker opponent.

  19. - Federalist - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:22 pm:

    This assumes Kirk will win his own primary.

    Maybe. Maybe not!

  20. - Snucka - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Has Quinn given any indication that he would want to run for Senate in 2016? Seems weird that people believe he could possibly be the party’s nominee in 2016 after he was easily defeated in a statewide 2014 race. Not only that, but he clearly performed worse than any other statewide Democratic candidate.

  21. - Wumpus - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    How does Oberwies poll?

  22. - chad - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    Rauner’s continued building of the GOP statewide enterprize will be a significant factor in Kirk’s favor. Kirk helped staff-out the Rauner organization and State Party, and Rauner is out to further build the GOP brand so he can make an attempt on the map. Madigan will be out to defend against Rauner’s savage assault on his weakest members, and won’t care about electing Duckworth so Dems can have another vote in a federal minority caucus. If Kirk wins the primary, Rauner will back him with another State Party push with list clean-up, ballot integrity (huge this time), ground game and associated activities. Yes, there was actual, real-live productive GOP door-knocking this election. It was like Rudy Giuliani’s first operation.

  23. - Tom Joad - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    Recent Kirk statements have been kind of odd.
    “I’m going to run come hell or highwater.” Did anyone say he shouldn’t run?
    “It would be a mistake for Duckworth to run against Kirk”. Why is he talking in the third person? Did he get that from Bill Bradey or Dan Rutherford?

  24. - Gooner - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    I thought Kirk was more popular. I’m a bit surprised by the numbers.

    In any case, I would like to see a Duckworth/Foster primary. That would allow us to see them both tested statewide. Moreover, other than cash spent, I don’t see a political downside to it. I don’t think a primary is going to push either of those two to the left or the right.

    In contrast, an attack from the right in a primary would be very bad for Kirk. He would have to move right to counter and that would damage him in November.

    So the poll is interesting. I’m looking forward to watching this one.

  25. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    ==- Jibba - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 1:06 pm:==

    The Sun-Times seems to be on a campaign to get him to run for something. They’ve tried U.S. Senate and Mayor of Chicago. What’s next? MWRD?

  26. - Empty Suit - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    ..and let’s see if Durbin returns the favor and stays out of the race.

  27. - Louis G Atsaves - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    Early poll showing Kirk tied or slightly behind? What, again? Seems like that happens to him every single time he ran for Congress and also for U.S. Senate.

  28. - Taxpayer Tim - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 2:46 pm:

    Kirk did a lot to get Rauner elected this year. Expect Governor Rauner to return the favor.

  29. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Kirk has always been vulnerable for sure. Every time he polled he looked down but then pulled it out.
    The big question of who will come at him from either side.
    Will the RNCC let Roskam, Schock and Kinzinger all go to the primary? That would be 3 seats they have to find candidates for and fill.
    Same for the DNCC with Duckworth and Foster are there back ups?
    Finally if Lisa runs she could have the best chance but that means BR gets to appoint the new AG, don’t think that would sit too well with some folks.

  30. - Arsenal - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    “Rauner’s continued building of the GOP statewide enterprize will be a significant factor in Kirk’s favor.”

    Rauner is continuing to build a Rauner election enterprise, and doing a pretty good job of it. But it’s not trickling down to the rest of his party- partially ’cause it wasn’t intended to. I don’t see why that’s going to change in 2016; Rauner will be concentrating on a savage assault on Madigan’s weakest members and won’t care about electing Kirk so the Republicans can have another vote in a federal legislature.

  31. - SantasLittleHelper - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Boy , I tell ya, I’d like to see Alexi Gianoulias get run in this one.

  32. - Anonymoiis - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Arsenal, considering the people who are incharge of Rauner’s team, who are in large part the same people who were in charge of Kirk’s and maintain strong ties to Kirk, I would disagree with your assumptions.

  33. - Walker - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 3:38 pm:

    Never underestimate Mark Kirk’s ability to outperform polls and pundits’ forecasts come Election Day.

  34. - walker - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    @Arsenal: Is that you Gooner? or are you another fan in the fold?

  35. - Cook County Commoner - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    I suspect that the likely deterioration of the situations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe by 2016 will underscore his credentials as a naval commander in the intelligence service and likely trump whoever the Repubs throw at him in a primary or the Dems in the general.
    Then again, all politics is local. Things may be that much worse in Illinois that a generic “chicken in every pot” candidate with some name recognition can take him down.

  36. - ZC - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    >>Democrats could never figure out how to run against him. Do they trash our state’s junior united senator as a tool of the far right, a career washingtonian, or do they hit him as a moderate squish?

    I think it all depends on what happens the next two years in the Republican-controlled Congress. I suspect to know them will be to dislike them, at least in Illinois.

    The Republican national “brand” in Illinois still has deep problems, and not just in Chicago (ask Tom Cross). I agree that Bruce Rauner is key here, because if anyone can help repair the brand locally, it’ll be him.

  37. - Arsenal - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    “Arsenal, considering the people who are incharge of Rauner’s team, who are in large part the same people who were in charge of Kirk’s and maintain strong ties to Kirk, I would disagree with your assumptions.”

    It doesn’t really matter who the staffers are; the cossacks work for the czar. It really doesn’t serve Rauner’s interests to carry Kirk across the finish line. Anyway, it’s not like their “help” really helped any other Republicans last month.

    @walker- I am a different and far more useless poster. But yes, I’m a fan of the Gunners, god save me this season.

  38. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    For those who are certain that Rauner will step up for Kirk, what do you base it on?

    Willie Wilson, a former Quinn backer, campaigned with and for Rauner in black churches all over the state. Emanuel, publicly, backed Quinn.

    Is Rauner stepping up for Wilson? Not so you’d notice.

  39. - A guy... - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    ===Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    For those who are certain that Rauner will step up for Kirk, what do you base it on?====

    Many of their “key” guys, were the same guys. Kirk’s Illinois strategy was in part a template for Rauner’s. Just a hunch, but the Kirk guys who became Rauner guys are probably still fond of Kirk. No?

  40. - Wordslinger - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:43 pm:

    Sharing hired guns isn’t the same as stepping up for someone who supported you, as the Wilson example demonstrates. One-way street there.

  41. - RT - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    Speaking of Alexi, how did the endorsement of Tom Cross work out for him?

    What a joke that guy was/is. As someone mentioned earlier, he was a terrible candidate that Krik barely beat in a big GOP year. The White House didn’t work to take him out in the primary because Alexi was Obama’s basketball buddy…big mistake. Cost them a Senate seat.

  42. - anon - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 5:15 pm:

    The Democratic presidential nominee will carry Illinois with ease. The Republican presidential nominee will spend zero resources campaigning here. Consequently, Sen. Kirk will have to outperform the top of the GOP ticket to keep his seat in ‘16.

  43. - Gooner - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 6:02 pm:


    As I’m sure you know, we ended up with a tie on Sunday because a guy who just had staples put into his head knocked a header into the net in extra time. A baseball player would have been out for two months with that injury. Derrick Rose would be wondering if he would ever come back.

    Tough way to go from three points to one.
    So yeah, “Arsenal” and “Gooner” are different people. The way that this year is going, I’m not sure how many people will admit to being with us.

    It looks like there are four of us now.

    I think that’s sufficient for Rich to do a QOTD focusing on the Premier League.

  44. - Almost the Weekend - Monday, Dec 22, 14 @ 11:13 pm:

    If Alexi or PQ run for this US Senate seat, Mark Kirk will be licking his chops. Congresswoman Duckworth has military credentials and doesn’t need to lie about them. It will be interesting to see if the DPI and Cook County DP clear the primary for her. If it is a crowded primary north of I-80, all bets are off.

  45. - Obama's Puppy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 7:45 am:

    Let me say I am a life long committed Dem and I would vote for Kirk over Quinn. Go away Pat Quinn!

  46. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    If Quinn starts to run for US Senate and no other Democrats show and interest, look for Carol Moseley Braun to make a comeback.

    There are a ton of Democrats who would beat Quinn in a Democratic primary. Both Duckworth & Bill Foster are on that list.

    But so are Mike Frerichs, Kwame Raoul, Dan Seals, David Gill, Don Harmon, Karen Yarbough, Carol Ammons, Cornell Wilson, Deb Shore, Mariyana Spyropoulos, Tom Dart, John Fritchey, Toni Preckwinkle, Susana Mendoza, Dan Hynes… you get the idea.

    Besides Jerry Stermer and PQ’s mom, I doubt Quinn is any Illinois Democrat’s first choice for US Senate.

  47. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    ==I agree that Bruce Rauner is key here, because if anyone can help repair the brand locally, it’ll be him. == ZC

    What would a repaired Illinois GOP brand look like?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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