13 September, 2010

New Polls, Kirk vs. Giannoulias

As long time readers (all three of you!) of this blog know, I've been saying for months that summer polling data is generally unreliable, and that most voters don't start paying attention to upcoming elections until late August at the earliest, and sometime after Labor Day for the majority. I've also been predicting that Mark Kirk will rebound from his stumbles from earlier in the summer, and that he will start to pull ahead in the polling once September rolled around.

Well, two polls that have come out in the last couple of weeks are giving clear indications that the start of that shift has now occurred.

The Chicago Tribune has issued a poll of 600 Likely Voters, and found the race tied at 34-34. And now, Rasmussen has released a poll (750 Likely Voters) which has Kirk leading by 4 percentage points, 41-37 (with 9 points for the Green Party candidate!).

I still think this race will be end up close, but with Kirk prevailing in the end. My read is, if Kirk wins it will be only by 2-3 percentage points. On the other hand, if Giannoulias wins, it will be by an ultra-thin margin, possibly with even less than 1% of the vote. In any case, its very clear that after being handed their best shot at gaining ground over Kirk, the Giannoulias campaign has failed to gain momentum and appears to be in danger of stalling.

The next Rasmussen poll should be out around September 20-22. We're also probably about due for a PPP poll any day now. If the next several poll show Kirk ahead, and especially if they show Kirk's lead increasing, then I think panic will start to set in among Democrats over this race.

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