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06/09/2010

New U.S. Senate Poll: "Dead Heat"

  To hear Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady tell it, last week's controversy surrounding senate candidate Mark Kirk's "misremembered" military history was much ado about not much:

  "I really think the voters don't care", said Brady. "I think what they care about is fixing the economic mess in the state and the country."

  A Rasmussen Poll completed on Monday of this week would suggest otherwise. 

  The telephone survey of 500 voters around the state suggested that the race for President Barack Obama's former seat in the U.S. Senate had tightened considerably since an earlier poll during the last week of April.

  The June 7th survey had Kirk leading democrat Alexi Giannoulias 42% to 39% with 7% favoring "other candidates" and 12% undecided.  (The 3% spread between the candidates is within the poll's 4.5% margin of error making it a "dead heat")   

  In the April 28th survey, taken after the Giannoulias family-owned Broadway bank failed, Kirk led by eight points, 46%-38%.  The "others" garnered 5% with the undecideds at 12%.

  Did Kirk's false claims about his military service cause him to blow most of his lead and the momentum he built in the wake of the bank failure?

  Chairman Brady said he never believed the race was a done deal for Kirk.

  "It's going to be a close race and we're going to have to fight for every vote.  We're fighting against the biggest political machine in the United States."

  If a sitting U.S. President's political apparatus is a "machine", then Brady's declaration rang truer than ever this afternoon.

  David Plouffe, Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager, dispelled any lingering doubt that the White House would get involved in the race on behalf of Giannoulias in a big way.  As he made a Barackobama.com-style appeal for $20 donations to the democrat's campaign, Plouffe wrote "Alexi is exactly the type of partner President Obama needs in the Senate".

  Last month, other Obama political operatives announced plans to hold fundraisers for Giannoulias during the summer. 

   Meanwhile, both sides have to be wondering about the 12% of voters who told the Rasmussen survey they were "undecided" not only during the last week of April but also during the first week of June.

  Those folks could be the difference.

  

  

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