Kirk Pulls Ahead

April 9th, 2010 at 12:02 pm | 6 Comments |

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I’ve argued that if Mark Kirk would stay on message and focus his campaign on the economy, national security, and his common sense moderate record while pounding Alexi Giannoulias on his ties to corrupt Illinois politics as usual (Blago, Tony Rezko, the fact that his biggest fundraiser was recently arrested….etc.) Mark Kirk would whittle away at Giannoulias’ lead.

According to a new Rasmussen poll, in only a month, Kirk hasn’t exactly gained ground, but Alexi Giannoulias sure has lost a lot of it. A month ago, Rasmussen pegged the race at 44-41 in favor of Giannoulias. Well, this month, Kirk stayed at 41% but Giannoulias fell off a cliff and Rasumussen now puts the race at 41-37 in favor of Mark Kirk. Equally encouraging are the now 13% that said they are undecided (the other 8% support another candidate).

Kirk stands well positioned to bring in the independents: Kirk is an established moderate.  He voted for cap and trade, a vote which probably horrifies many readers but might actually play in his favor by demonstrating that he is willing to go out on a limb, buck his party, and support a president who still remains popular in Illinois. Kirk also has impeccable national security credentials (for years, he has been leading the push in Congress for sanctions on Iran). Furthermore, his economic positions will appeal to voters eager to get their jobs back and see the economy moving again. It also helps that Giannoulias can’t stop finding his way into the news for all the wrong reasons. His family bank is on the brink of collapse and has loaned a clean $20 million to convicted felons.

The Kirk camp also announced that it raised a solid haul of $2.2 million since the beginning of the year and has more than $3 million in the bank for the stretch run. Alexi Giannoulias’ decision not to reveal his haul suggests that he is almost certainly less financially well-endowed. These poll results plus the solid fund-raising results will almost certainly lead even more cash to flood Kirk’s way. With his solid funding position, Kirk will be able to afford several major ad buys during the stretch run.  This combined with the fact that Rod Blagojevich, with whom Giannoulias has worked, is going to be on the front page of every Illinois paper as his trial unfolds, should be enough to put Mark Kirk over the top barring any unforced errors.

Mark Kirk is going to win this thing.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • TerryF98

    You need to take 5% points away from any Republican in a Rasmussen poll. So this is essentially tied.

  • msmilack

    He’s still avoiding answering questions on the threat to repeal healthcare; he has been called out for his flip-flops on both that subject and on cap and trade (putting him in danger of turning into the original flip-flopper, Romney).
    The pressure from the Club for Growth to follow their rules and pledges has obviously influenced him; it would be nice for him to step away and be his own person but I don’t see that happening; I think he is struggling with this but so far, they are winning. He is looking to me like he will be joining the chorus of other Republicans in DC who would rather say “no” than say what he believes is best for his state and country. I noticed that today he is pandering to the anti-stem-cell constituents (check that off the list: I believe he has already tipped his hat to the Tea Party). It seems clear that Club for Growth is writing his current script. What I find disturbing about that is that they are of the collective mind where they would rather win than govern; would rather lose (see Scozzafava election) than govern. I had hoped he would break away from them, but no such luck.

  • ktward

    msmilack, as a (fellow?) IL voter–registered Indie–I couldn’t agree with you more. Kirk is whittling away his mainstream cred which is critical if he wishes to effectively woo Indies/moderates and those disillusioned with Giannoulias.

    Jeb: November’s still a long way off, so I make no predictions. But if I were the bettin’ type, I would bet that fear of Kirk ending up shackled to the Far Right chaingang–as virtually every other Republican Congress Critter is now–will spur IL Indie/Mod voters to take their chances on AG. You’re right, Kirk is a moderate and his record largely reflects that- which is precisely why he won the primary. Pandering to the Right machine is bound to prove problematic for him in the general election.

  • Ivychat

    Kirk only wins if Alexi stays in the race. Even money or better that Alexi is gone soon.

  • ktward

    Ivychat // Apr 9, 2010 at 9:32 pm:
    “Kirk only wins if Alexi stays in the race. Even money or better that Alexi is gone soon.”

    That’s month-old, unsubstantiated journo buzz.

    Recent AP report:
    Democrats brush aside any talk of getting Giannoulias to bow out of the race.

    “Alexi Giannoulias is running a strong campaign on the issues that matter to the people of Illinois — like job creation and the economy,” says Deirdre Murphy, national press secretary of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

    Chicago political consultant Don Rose said that if the election were now he thinks Kirk would win but sees a good opportunity for Giannoulias make up for lost ground, especially if the economy improves.

    “They have to make Kirk unpalatable politically and level the playing field,” Rose said. “Of course the best thing would be if they could get him (Giannoulias) to resign and replace him.” But that isn’t going to happen, Democrats say.

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