Chicago, IL, United States (AHN) – The latest poll in the race for the Senate seat of formerly held by President Barack Obama has Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias tied with Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
A new Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV survey has Giannoulias and his Republican rival each with 34 percent support overall. Two third-party candidates each held less than seven percent, leaving 22 percent of voters undecided.
Kirk leads 34 percent to 23 percent among independent voters. He also has more support in his party, with three-fourths of Republicans saying they would vote for him. In contrast, Giannoulias has two-thirds of Democrats backing him.
However, the poll found 36 percent of conservatives with no opinion of Kirk, and nearly four in 10 collar-county voters without sufficient information to view the congressman favorably or unfavorably.
The race is rated a tossup by the Cook Political Report.
Both candidates are coming off of months of separate controversies plaguing their campaigns.
Giannoulias, 34, faced questions about his role in $20 million his family’s bank is said to have lent to criminals. The Tulane University Law School graduate served as a senior loan officer and vice president at Broadway Bank, a once-successful community bank in Edgewater now facing insolvency, when the loans were approved.
The Democrat also had to downplay his ties to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose trial on 24 corruption charges ended last month with a conviction on one charge.
Kirk, a five-term representative, publicly apologized in June for claiming to be a veteran of the Gulf and Afghan wars despite servng in Maryland in the Navy Reserves.
The congressman confessed to having wrongly boasted about being awarded intelligence officer of the year in the Navy for his service in the Kosovo war. The award was actually a group citation, the Vice Admiral Rufus L. Taylor Award, for his whole unit.
Kirk issued his apology after critics and observers exposed a number of questionable claims, such as his statement that he commanded the war room at the Pentagon. Giannoulias has also called him out for saying in a congressional floor speech, “The last time I was in Iraq I was in uniform, flying at 20,000 feet, and the Iraqi Air Defense network was shooting at us.”
Following his apology, the New York Times revealed that his claim throughout the years of working as “a nursery school teacher” in his last year at Cornell University had also been “overstated.” The head of the church where the congressman said he had worked told the Times, “He was never, ever considered a teacher. He was just an additional pair of hands to help a primary teaching person.”