A new public poll shows the freshly-minted nominees for Senate in Illinois are running a tight race as the general election campaign begins in earnest. Yesterday, GOP nominee Mark Kirk released an internal poll showing him with a double-digit lead over Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias. But today’s public poll from Rasmussen shows the race is much closer than that, with Kirk leading Giannoulias 46-40 with a margin of error of 4.5%.
Internal polls are often released by candidates in an attempt to influence the storyline of a race. Yesterday, the Kirk campaign pushed its internal numbers on reporters yesterday in the hours after Kirk swept a crowded field to win his party’s nomination. While today’s poll still shows him ahead of Giannoulias in the race for President Obama’s former Senate seat, the six-point lead suggests the race is basically up for grabs.The Rasmussen poll was conducted last night, a day after the primary election which saw both men beat multiple challengers to win their party’s nomination outright. The pollster contacted 500 likely voters.