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April 30, 2009

Poll: Kirk in strong position for Senate

Illinois GOP congressman Mark Kirk would start off in solid position at winning in the Illinois Senate race, according to a new statewide poll.

Despite the state’s Democratic leanings, Kirk would trounce Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) by 34 points, 53 to 19 percent, and is tied with state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias at 34 percent, according to the Public Policy Polling survey.

And Kirk leads Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) by four points, 37 to 33 percent. Schakowsky has expressed interest in the seat, and has commissioned polling showing her as a contender for the nomination.

Kirk is leaning towards running for the Senate, according to an informed source, but hasn't made a final decision.  He has said he will make his decision by early May.

The one saving grace for Democrats? Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who leads Kirk by 16 points, 49 to 33 percent. But Madigan seems much more inclined to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn in next year's Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Many Illinois voters are still unfamiliar with the leading candidates. Kirk’s favorability rating is 33 percent, with 24 percent viewing him unfavorably. A 43 percent plurality weren’t familiar with him.

And while Giannoulias holds a statewide office, he also isn’t well-known in the state – with 40 percent of voters unfamiliar with him. The state treasurer holds a 39 percent approval rating, with 21 percent viewing him unfavorably.

Meanwhile, Burris continues to hold rock-bottom approval ratings, with only 17 percent of voters approving of his job performance and 62 percent disapprove.  Indeed, Burris barely leads Kirk among self-identified Democrats.