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PPP poll has Giannoulias with eight-point lead over Kirk

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* This new PPP poll was taken before yesterday’s revelations about the Giannoulias family bank, and that issue (among many others) will certainly be in play this fall. Still, this ain’t insignificant. From a Public Policy Polling survey of 1,062 Illinois voters from January 22nd to 25th with a margin of error of +/-3%…

* Alexi Giannoulias 42
* Mark Kirk 34

* Mark Kirk 37
* David Hoffman 36

* Mark Kirk 38
* Cheryle Jackson 36

From the pollster

In a reminder that contested primaries can be a good thing Alexi Giannoulias has jumped out to a 42-34 lead over Mark Kirk in the race to be Illinois’ next Senator. When PPP last looked at such a match up in April the two were tied at 35.

The reason for Giannoulias’ ascent is that where he was winning 60% of the Democratic vote last spring he’s now at 72%. As his party’s voters have become more familiar with him over the course of the primary campaign his support from them has increased. Right now he leads 72-7 with Dems while Kirk is up 76-5 with Republicans. Kirk also has a 33-27 lead with independents. It’s close to impossible for a GOP candidate to win statewide in Illinois without at least a double digit lead among independents and a double digit level of crossover support, and right now Kirk isn’t there.

Kirk does lead the other two Democratic candidates, currently trailing Giannoulias in primary polling, by small margins. He’s up 38-36 on Cheryle Jackson and 37-36 on David Hoffman.

These numbers could change a lot between now and November, as none of the candidates are particularly well known yet. Giannoulias and Kirk each have around 50% name recognition, with favorability spreads of 31/19 and 27/22 respectively. Jackson and Hoffman are each known to a third of the electorate or less with breakdowns of 16/17 and 16/11 respectively.

One key thing to look at when Republicans try to win in blue states like Illinois is how the moderates are voting. Scott Brown won their votes in Massachusetts last week, something that has become a very rare occurrence for GOP candidates in the past few election cycles. Right now Giannoulias is ahead of Kirk 45-25 with them. Kirk will have to make some significant in roads there if he’s going to win this fall.

It’s a long way until November, one of the quirks of the Illinois election calendar. But in a month when most of the news for Democrats has been bad this poll stands out as a rare ray of sunshine for the party’s hopes in the Senate.

More from the poll

Dick Durbin’s approval rating is 47% while Roland Burris’ stands at just 14%, the lowest PPP has ever measured for a Senator.

Full results and crosstabs can be found by clicking here.

* Related…

* Democrats on Defensive for Former Obama, Biden Senate Seats

* Regulators clamp down on Giannoulias’ Broadway Bank

* Banking Past Haunts Obama Friend Who Wants His Old Senate Seat

* Broadway Bank ordered to raise more capital

* Giannoulias bank under federal consent decree

* Senate candidate’s family bank hits troubles

* Giannoulias Family Bank & U.S. Senate Seat

* Giannoulias responds as family bank faces troubles

* Feds enter consent decree with Giannoulias family bank

* Giannoulias bank must take steps to stay afloat

* Giannoulias foe calls on him to quit Senate race

* Jackson seeks spot on U.S. Senate

* Hoffman calls on Giannoulias to disclose donors

* Meister’s attorney takes action against WTTW

* Kirk: a social-moderate, fiscal-conservative candidate for Senate

* 1240 WTAX’s Bob Murray Conducts Close-Up Interviews with all Illinois U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates

posted by Rich Miller
Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:22 am


  1. These numbers look nice right until Broadway is taken over by regulators and the Republicans throw millions in negative ads at Bright Start, Rezko and the bank.

    Comment by Chicago Cynic Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:30 am

  2. We are currently in a primary mode. Kirk is talking to Republicans, Alexi is talking to Democrats. The fact that in a partisan environment, Kirk is already leading among independent is incredible. PPP may get their Kirk double-digit lead yet.

    Comment by proud vet Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:30 am

  3. Alexi’s ads have been very good and I suspect have raised his profile. It’s a long way to November, though.

    Comment by wordslinger Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:31 am

  4. Also, keep in mind that PPP is a Democrat-leaning firm so we can probably figure the numbers are slightly closer. Not unexpected given Alexi’s spending on network TV in Chicago while Kirk is dark.

    Comment by proud vet Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:32 am

  5. If I am reading this poll correctly we got 47% of Illinois residents identify themselves as Dems and 31% as Repubs. Can we get a wager going about what GOP turnout will be on Tuesday?

    Comment by Big Policy Nerd Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:41 am

  6. From what I hear, Republicans would LOVE for Alexi to be Kirk’s opponent in the general. With the publication of this poll there are probably high-fives all around in the Kirk campaign this morning.

    Comment by Responsa Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:45 am

  7. The Congressman has not campaigned at all for this senate seat which is why he has 3 million dollars in the bank and is behind Alexi. Wheraas Alexi has been in a full throttle campagin mode for 8 months, most of kirk’s work has been behind the scenes raising money, locking up the establishment, trying to avoid a fight with hughes. He’s not been wasting his money building up his image and defining himself in the suburbs the way alexi has which explains the discrepancy.

    I can’t think of a worse profession to have this year and a scandal ongoing than to be a chicago banker, especially with his hairness due for trial later this year. On the macneil-lehrer report the other night, the professor from depaul basically said it will be a battle of too evils- the banker in alexi and the dc/bush in Kirk.

    As a kirk person I will never sleep well at night knowing that a conservative backlash could be around the corner at our congressman. i am not comforted by his polling.

    Comment by shore Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:49 am

  8. DC/Bush w/ Kirk? not likely

    conservative backlash = wishful thinking by some.

    Comment by anon Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 10:56 am

  9. It’s hard to tell how the Broadway Bank problems will affect Alexi, but I wonder if they will have much impact at all on next week’s primary. Will those who haven’t voted already have had time to absorb these revelations. After all, as one of the talking heads pointed out on Chicago Tonight last evening, the feds are holding a big list of troubled banks. These are unusual times. And maybe the family will come up with the cash to save the bank and increase Alexi’s chances in the big election in the fall.

    And yet…his still-likely victory next week must be giving the WH fits. The WH meddled to the extent of begging Lisa Madigan to run, and that was before the double whammy of Bright Start, the settlement of it,and the family bank troubles, which Alexi can’t totally disown, although he is sure trying.

    If this were a TV show, Hoffman and/or Cheryle J. would come out with a brilliant series of ads over the week portraying themselves as little guys fighting a scion of wealth who symbolizes, however indirectly, the financial greed that is destroying the little guy. After all, the Prez himself has been trash-talking the banks lately. David or Cheryle would win to the applause of little guys all over Illinois.

    This is real life, though, it takes time and money to produce great ads, so it’s probably
    too late. Still, the Republicans are probably thrilled.

    Comment by cassandra Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:00 am

  10. @ Shore

    _As a kirk person I will never sleep well at night knowing that a conservative backlash could be around the corner at our congressman_

    Shore, you think if McKenna wins this primary, we might see a 3rd Party/Teabag type challenger in the Governors race or against Kirk?

    Comment by Big Policy Nerd Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:07 am

  11. Step. Away. From the koolaid.

    For months, David Hoffman and his campaign staff have been telling us that Alexi is unelectable.

    Well, if Alexi is “unelectable”, what the heck is David Hoffman?

    Hoffman’s been campaigning on Bright Start, he’s been campaigning on Rezko and banking, and he still trails Alexi…badly.

    Now, even though the latest polls show Alexi as the BEST candidate to face Kirk, Hoffman’s camp still claims Alexi can’t win.

    I guess some folks won’t be convinced until Election Day.

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:08 am

  12. Rep. Kirk isn’t a social moderate or a fiscal conservative. His latest rating from Planned Parenthood is 100%, and his latest rating from Gun Owners of America is 0%. He voted for the cap & trade bill, and he ensured that the federal government spent money, in his district, for Metra, HUD, Headstart, and local police departments. He’s a social liberal and a fiscal moderate.

    Comment by Conservative Veteran Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:10 am

  13. BPN, to rehash a Bushism, don’t misunderestimate a Tea Party person entering the fray.

    But this isn’t a special election, and it’s not a dark red state like Utah or Wyoming. And yes, I know there are Democrats in those states. However, I don’t know if we can ever really equate Doug Hoffman’s candidacy to Mark Kirk’s. Scott Brown is a better parallel but still isn’t quite the same.

    Comment by Team Sleep Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:18 am

  14. @ Team Sleep

    Ok, so you don’t think the chances are good for a teabag entry into the Senate race. But what about the Governor’s race? Especially if it is McKenna or Dillard?

    Comment by Big Policy Nerd Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:39 am

  15. @wordslinger - I think Alexi’s ads have been nice, but they haven’t raised his support in the Dem primary by even a point. More than $1.5 million spent for not a single point gained. Not sure that’s a great return.

    @YDD - the part you seem to miss is that Hoffman hasn’t spent millions in negative ads on Alexi on Bright Start, Broadway, etc. He didn’t have it to spend. In fact, his Bright Start buy was just a token. The point I’ve made (and most folks in the White House and DC political class believe) is that once the Republicans pour MILLIONS into these issues, they’ll penetrate. Guaranteed.

    And you can keep talking about trailing badly, but the only candidate who has surged (if you look at not just Trib but PPP and some private polls for other candidates) is David Hoffman.

    Comment by Chicago Cynic Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:49 am

  16. Oh, and Shore, I’m disturbed to say that I agree with you about everything other than conservative backlash. Stop watching Fox. Start celebrating. Your guy is going to be the nominee. Guaranteed!

    Comment by Chicago Cynic Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:50 am

  17. Shore is not a bad person. There needs to be one last decent North Shore Republican other than team america and louis astaves. the other night i did a recap of the democrat debate for the downstate democrats, and managed to do so while keeping my dinner and guiness down, not easy.

    I like comrade kirk, but I don’t drink the jim jones juice.

    Until either the gop gets its brains beat in enough-watch charlie rose and david cameron tonight-and learns to reclaim the center or the centrist wing of the party-all two of us, rises again, Mr. Kirk is going to face hell on every major issue. I think one of the most fascinating things to watch starting february 3rd aside from the white sox rotation will be how a pro-choice republican runs in Illinois. We haven’t had one run in a general election with a chance to win in decades. No one has asked Mark Kirk how he will vote on judges or a number of these other issues. The conservatives will also have to ask themselves after he wins the primary whether they think its more important to have alexi to hit like a pinata for the next 6 years and have no chance to stop obama, or to have kirk who will be with them part of the way and they can constantly threaten.

    Comment by shore Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 12:04 pm

  18. Hey did Gags Brady make it to Hawaii with MoneyMannMikeSteele? Or did he stay here to help down the primary vote?

    Comment by CircularFiringSquad Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 12:24 pm

  19. BPN, I don’t think there will be a Tea Party candidate for Senate because of the national $$$ that will be involved. But for governor? Sure. I can see Adam A. picking up the mantra for the Tea Party folks - especially if he scores more than 10%. Because unlike the Libertarians, the Tea Party folks can be to us what the Green Party has been to the Democrats.

    Comment by Team Sleep Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 12:28 pm

  20. @ChicagoCynic - Hoffman is “surging” because he had no place to go but up, and he’s STILL fighting for second place.

    If Republicans want to try to make this campaign about Rezko and Broadway Bank, let them spend tens of millions if they want.

    The #1 Issue from here to election day is going to be Jobs. And Alexi’s going to spend the next 9 months talking about his plans to create jobs and Mark Kirk’s record of shipping American jobs overseas, PLUS how Kirk’s opposed President Obama’s efforts to get America back on track, PLUS how Kirk has flip-flopped on every issue and can’t be trusted, PLUS how Kirk is an insider who embodies what’s wrong with Washington.

    Sure, the campaign will get ugly. But no uglier than a campaign against a guy who “worked for Mayor Daley” and “Says he cleaned up Chicago politics. Really??”

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 12:46 pm

  21. I can’t address the plans or motives of the south of Champaign conservative voters because I simply don’t know. But I was down in central Illinois over the weekend and believe I gained some insight on the Nov. election. The Republicans I know and spoke with are smart and practical. Many of them like Kirk. Many others have issues with some of Mark Kirk’s positions–but they are also being realistic. They know that a number of Republican voters (not just in Illinois) stayed home from the voting booth at the last presidential election in protest because McCain was “not conservative enough”. In retrospect most of them understand what a bad decision that turned out to be. In the IL US Senate race they will not stay home again this time or waste their vote. They seem to be prepared to hold their noses and vote rather than help add to the national Dem senate count.

    Comment by Responsa Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 12:47 pm

  22. Re: Mark Kirk. You can keep him in your district, Shore. Please keep him. He is a weak candidate. He’s not strongly against the Obama socialist agenda. He’s pro-abortion. The IL GOP will not learn the lesson that the conservatives will stay home on gen election day b/c of the lousy candidates put forth. Many stayed home b/c McVain was so lousy. I don’t know that conservatives will surge to Kirk in November. I’m tired of being fed lousy candidates by this party and being called “fringe.” I don’t know if there are enough Dems who hate Obie yet in this state to stay home on the Dem side and help a GOP candidate.

    Comment by Peggy SO-IL Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 1:35 pm

  23. The trends don’t look good for Giannoulais. Hoffman will do better against Kirk than Giannoulais.

    Kirk will beat Giannoulais in November, but Hoffman is already tying Kirk.

    Go with Hoffman.

    Comment by VanillaMan Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 2:19 pm

  24. Any ideas as to what Alexi has in store to actually create jobs? I’m all ears.

    Hopefully he doesn’t peg himself to the President’s plans for creating jobs.

    Comment by Brennan Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 2:39 pm

  25. Forget Kirk– Alexi now only has an 8-point lead on Hoffman:

    Hoffman is going to catch this guy.

    Comment by ForgetKirk Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 2:55 pm

  26. I think the most interesting piece of info is that Dick Durbin is down to 47%, and that in a PPP poll, no less. That is mighty darn low for a high-ranking Democratic Senator from an increasingly Blue state. This ain’t Nevada.

    Comment by Bubs Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 3:56 pm

  27. Poor Durbin. He’s so boring. That’s why I don’t think his fly-around with Quinn to tout high speed rail bucks from the feds will amount to much for Quinn. As soon as Durbin appears, folks will doze off or change the channel.

    Comment by cassandra Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 4:28 pm

  28. G-ALEXI will not beat Kirk in November; period. He is well past his expiration date, and by November he will be rancid.

    Not only that, but if Rezko re-surfacesa and joins the choir or better yet performs a solo at the Blago trial, G-ALEXI could be so radioactive by that point that few Democrats may actually want to campaign beside him.

    Comment by Quinn T. Sential Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 7:48 pm

  29. My heart is for Meister, but undecided between Hoffman and Giannoulias.

    Kirk is one of the few Republicans that can be competitive statewide. No teabagger or conservative will ever win a statewide election in Illinois. If the GOP wants to purge the rest of the moderates, then have at it.

    Comment by Bill-O' the Clown Thursday, Jan 28, 10 @ 11:42 pm

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