Poll: Giannoulias Edges Kirk By One Point — And Voters Don’t Like Either Of Them

The new survey of the Illinois Senate race by Public Policy Polling (D) finds that this state is now struggling in its choice between two seriously flawed candidates — and there could even be a significant protest vote for a third candidate.

The numbers: Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who has endured bad publicity from the failure of his family’s bank, has 31%. Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, who has come under fire for false statements about his military record, has 30%. And a third candidate, LeAlan Jones of the Green Party, gets 14%. The survey of registered voters has a ±4.2% margin of error.In the previous PPP numbers from early April, Kirk had a lead of 37%-33%, with Jones not included. These numbers came in the run-up to the insolvency of the Giannoulias family bank, and well before the recent news about Kirk’s military record.

Respondents in the new poll were asked: “Do you think Mark Kirk has been truthful about his military record?” Here the answer for Kirk is an abysmal 10% yes, 45% no, and 45% not sure.

The two major candidates have identically bad personal ratings, at 23% favorable to 31% unfavorable, with 45% undecided, while Jones is at 2%-13%-84%. In a good sign for Democrats, President Obama’s approval rating is 53%-41%, and voters favor the new health care reform law by a narrow edge of 45%-43%.

PPP’s Tom Jensen writes: “It’s hard to see this race as anything but a pure tossup at this juncture but in Illinois a race between a flawed Democrat and a flawed Republican is probably going to end up in the Democratic column, and Giannoulias’ 5 point gain relative to Kirk is in the 10 weeks reflects that.”