The latest Rasmussen poll shows State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias with a 2 point lead over 5-Term Congressman Mark Kirk (42 to 40), although the race tightens to 45-45 when "leaners" (those who are initially undecided, but indicate they are leaning towards one of the candidates in response to a later follow-up question. After Labor Day, Rasmussen will include "leaners" in the primary stats.
So, what does this mean? Probably a few things; first, despite the hype on this particular race, large numbers of voters still don't pay attention until after Labor Day (if then). So, we will expect the numbers of undecideds to go down steadily as November 2 approaches. Which way that will break for Kirk or Giannoulias depends on which messages are resonating with voters. So far, although Kirk has done a nice job hanging the appellation "mob banker" around Alexi's neck, it hasn't enabled Kirk to break away, probably due in large part to his own negatives concerning his military record claims.
However, it has just been announced that Alexi has finally agreed to meet Kirk in a few debates (one on NBC's "Meet the Press"), although for Kirk, it's not yet enough.
In a statement, Kirk said:
“We urge Mr. Giannoulias to fulfill his campaign promise to accept our invitation for several more debates and forums starting next week in Springfield,” Kirk campaign spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said. “With unemployment over 10 percent, spending out of control and U.S. forces engaged overseas, voters deserve a thoughtful series of debates and forums to discuss the complex economic and foreign policy challenges before us. Voters should hear from the candidates well before early voting begins in October.”
I would expect that Kirk will wipe the floor with Alexi once he gets him in the debate ring, so I am hopeful that we will see some real swings in the numbers once large numbers of voters get a chance to see the two candidates head-to-head.
MEANWHILE, IN IL-10: The Chicago Tribune looks at the income statements of 10th District Candidates Bob Dold and Dan Seals. We'll have some follow-up on this soon, but for now, it's sufficient to note that, as we have said in the past, it appears that Dan Seals' claim to be an independent business consultant has been code for 'unemployed,' or at best, he's not a very successful consultant. The notion that Seals is just too busy continuously campaigning to make any money doesn't cut it for me; there have been many months of downtime between losing to Mark Kirk last November and taking the plunge a third time.
In the article, Seals points to his employment with "ThePoint.com" as one of his consulting gigs that was a success. Well, we were the ones who first happened upon that gig last cycle, and as far as we could see, it couldn't have been that big a success, as that job appears to have lasted only a matter of months. Draw your own conclusions, folks.