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.