As numbers tighten throughout the country, a new poll shows President Barack Obama maintaining a steady lead in his home state.
Obama beats Mitt Romney 55 percent to 36 percent in Illinois, according to a Tribune/WGN-TV poll of 700 voters. While the lead remains intact, the numbers show Illinoisans’ support of the president slipping from 2008 when he beat John McCain in Illinois 61.9 percent to 36.8 percent.
Chicago election officials said this week that last-minute registration was way down from what it was four years ago. At the county level, 30,000 people registered over the course of the last week in 2008, but only about 10,000 registered this week ahead of the Tuesday deadline.
"This time around I think Illinois seems like a foregone conclusion of how it's going to turn out on Election Day, so people aren't as motivated to participate, and that's unfortunate," Cook County Clerk's Office spokeswoman Courtney Greve said.
State Republicans say they're honing in on a plan to tweak Illinois' blue color choice.
During the Republican National Convention, Illinois' delegation focused on becoming a swing state by 2016. GOP Chairman Pat Brady welcomed the delegation to the "retooled Illinois Republican party" and made a promise that Republicans will "win the governor's mansion" in 2014.
What's more, Romney's Illinois campaign chairman Dan Rutherford, a potential gubernatorial candidate, reported strong fundraising returns for Romney's camp from Illinois supporters.
When vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan visited Illinois Sunday for a fund-raiser at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, he netted $2.5 million. Romney raised $4.4 million last month during an event in Lake Forest. Rutherford told Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet it's the largest single Republican fund-raiser in state history.
For now the president's campaign officials in Chicago say they're not changing a thing about its strategy for winning a second term.
"Our task is to lay out the economic choice every day for undecideds and to turn out our supporters," said Ben LaBolt, Obama's campaign spokesman told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Supporter turn-out is key, even in Illinois. Last month, British market research firm YouGov surveyed 1,188 Illinoisans and found Obama leading Romney 59 percent to 35 percent, a stat closer to the result in 2008. But as the election approaches, the Tribune poll shows that percentage waning.