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GOP's Kirk Edges Past Dem's Giannoulias in Illinois Senate Race

5 years ago
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Republican Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois has pulled ahead of Democrat Alex Giannoulias, the state's treasurer, leading him by 37 percent to 33 percent with 30 percent still undecided, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted April 1-5. The margin of error is 4 points.

In a poll conducted by PPP in January before Giannoulias won his party's nomination, he led Kirk in a general election matchup by 8 points. A Rasmussen Reports poll, conducted March 8, had Giannoulias ahead 44 percent to 41 percent.

Since then, his campaign has been struggling with controversies over the bank owned by Giannoulias' family. The bank is believed to be near collapse and a Chicago Tribune story last Friday said the bank lent two convicted felons about $20 million while Giannoulias was a senior loan officer.

PPP said the uncertainty cast over Giannoulias' campaign by the ongoing disclosures probably accounts for the fact that 36 percent of Democrats are undecided compared to only 16 percent of Republicans.

"The undecided Democrats will decide this race," said PPP's Dean Debnam. "Will they come home and support Giannoulias in the end, will they stay at home, or will they cross party lines to vote for Kirk? We don't know that answer yet."

Both men have yet to make themselves better known to voters. Fifty-three percent don't know enough about Kirk, a five-term congressman representing Chicago suburbs, to have a favorable or unfavorable opinion. The same is true about Giannoulias for 53 percent of voters.

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