Illinois Voters Can't Decide Which Senate Candidate They Like Less

Posted: Oct 04, 2010 9:16 AM
The numbers in the Chicago Tribune's latest Illinois Senate poll are eye-opening:

Giannoulias held a 38 percent to 36 percent advantage over Kirk, but that result falls within the poll's 4-percentage-point margin of error. Another 17 percent were undecided, offering ample opportunity in a contest where both sides are trying to sway voters with millions of dollars in negative TV ads assailing the character and veracity of the other guy. Two largely unknown minor-party candidates lagged behind.

When neither major party nominee can crack the 40 percent mark with less than a month to go, it's crystal clear that voters aren't enamored with their choices.  The number of undecideds--17 percent--is staggeringly high at this point in the race.  Why are Illinois voters down on Alexi Giannoulias (D) and Mark Kirk (R)?

...The two major-party contenders have tried to exploit campaign fodder each has provided the other in spades. Kirk has acknowledged embellishing parts of his military record as a Naval Reserve intelligence officer. Giannoulias was a senior loan officer at his family's failed bank when loans were given to convicted felons.

Amazingly, people seem to be slightly more forgiving of Giannoulias' loans to organized crime figures and his role in his family's bank collapse than they are of Kirk's foolish and totally counterproductive embellishments of his otherwise impressive military record:

Voters surveyed seemed to penalize Kirk more severely. Giannoulias had a narrow advantage among those polled on which Senate candidate is more honest and trustworthy — at 35 percent compared with 30 percent for Kirk. An additional 16 percent said neither candidate, and 18 percent said they didn't know, an indicator the TV ads might be leaving some voters cold on both of them.

If Kirk cannot ultimately gain voters' trust over a failed mob banker (who continues to get caught in more lies about his Broadway Bank role), then the Republican deserves to lose this race.