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Giannoulias leads, but Democrats deeply depressed

Giannoulias Kirk

From Unlikely Voter: I theorized before that Pat Quinn would drag down Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois, with a rout for Governor having reverse coattails for Senate, and now Public Policy Polling seems to show the effects I predicted.

A bad candidate for governor in a negative wave year is a terrible situation for a party to have, but that’s the Democrats in Illinois today.

The actual poll shows both candidates disliked by the electorate, with Mark Kirk at 26 favorable/34 unfavorable, and Giannoulias at 26/42, but the Democrat still manages a slight 37-35 advantage (MoE 4.1). So the race, per this poll, is 60/40 in favor of the Democrat right now, but reading PPP, the environment is not one in which Democrats should expect the trends and breaks to go their way:

These polls results are premised on an extremely depressed Democratic electorate. Those surveyed report having voted for Barack Obama by only 9 points, in contrast to his actual 26 point victory in the state in 2008. That’s a dropoff even worse than what Democrats saw in Virginia last year and the fact that Kirk is behind even when that’s the case does not bode well if Democratic interest in this election gets any better over the next three months. And it’s not as if Illinois voters just don’t know Giannoulias yet- they know him and they know they don’t like him and they still give him a small lead.

For context, a 17 point swing, like that seen in the Illinois Presidential vote in the PPP poll, in the House electorate would, per the Swingometer, project a 49 seat House gain nationally. It’s only a state that leans as far to the Democrats as Illinois that can keep that party afloat against this Republican wave that the new PPP likely voter model predicts.

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