Today Politico picks up on what we noted a few days ago when the latest Tribune poll came out -- undecided Independents are turning to the Republicans in general nationwide, and in Illinois, Congressman Mark Kirk in particular:
In the dead heat Illinois Senate race, Republican Mark Kirk is now up 44-41 over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias according to a Chicago Tribune/WGN poll released Monday—thanks in no small part to independents.
Kirk takes 50 percent of the undeclared voters to Giannoulias’s 28 percent . In a Tribune/WGN poll a month ago, Kirk was taking 38 percent of independents while Giannoulias was taking the same 28 percent he’s getting now. And in that period, those independent voters saying they were undecided fell from 22 percent to eight percent.
From what I hear from GOP insiders, all Republican polling points in this same direction. I tend to think that if Alexi had contrary information, he'd be releasing it to cancel out Kirk's momentum, especially after the above-the-fold headline in the Chicago Tribune the day the poll was released. So far, crickets.
UPDATED: Blog reader and local political junkie Adam Beeson noted in comments the just-released Rasmussen poll showing Mark Kirk up over Alexi Giannoulias, with a still-close 46% to 42%. Rasmussen says:
The race is little changed from last week, when Kirk led 44% to 40%. Highlighting the closeness of the contest is the fact that Kirk and Giannoulias have now run within four points or less of each other in 11 surveys since early June. Prior to the latest results, Jones' support held steady at four percent (4%) in four surveys since September.
But Democrats are counting on visits to Illinois this week by Bill Clinton and President Obama to shift voters in the Democratic-leaning state into Giannoulias' column.
But, based on Clinton's rather lackluster performance yesterday, and considering he seemed to pretty much be preaching to a choir of voters who would very likely have voted Dem with or without the visit, I doubt very much that Clinton moved the needle for any Dem candidate. Obama is going to make a much bigger splash and have a much bigger turnout, but again, many attendees will likely have voted Dem anyway, or are just showing up for the free concert or to see Obama and could give a hoot about voting if the Barackstar isn't personally on the ballot.