Kirk's Strategy Vs. Giannoulias: Say Nothing, Do Nothing - NBC Chicago
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Kirk's Strategy Vs. Giannoulias: Say Nothing, Do Nothing




    A new Senate poll should give Mark Kirk some ideas on how to run his campaign: keep a low profile for the next seven months. Alexi Giannoulias is capable of losing this election all by himself.

    A recent survey by Dem-leaning Public Policy Polling survey gives Kirk a 37-33 lead over Giannoulias, with 30 percent undecided. When the same company polled the race in January, just before the primary, Giannoulias was leading 42-34.

    “It’s clear that the movement in Kirk’s direction over the last two months has nothing to do with him and everything to do with Giannoulias,” PPP writes.

    Some of the internals:

    -- Democrats are not getting behind their candidate. Only 54 percent of Democrats support Giannoulias, while 77 percent of Republicans support Kirk.

    -- Since January, Giannoulias’ favorability rating has dropped from 31 percent to 21 percent. His unfavorability is up from 19 percent to 28 percent. By contrast, Kirk’s favorability has barely changed. In fact, people hardly have an opinion of him at all.

    -- Illinoisans support President Obama’s health care plan by a 46-43 margin.

    Mark Kirk’s blandness and lack of conviction are his greatest assets in this campaign. So far, his only slip-up has been promising to “lead the effort” to repeal Obamacare: not a winning platform in Illinois, as you can see from these poll numbers.

    He backed off -- Ward Room broke the story -- and hasn’t said anything about the issue since. In fact, Kirk is hardly saying anything at all. He doesn’t tell the news media where he’ll be campaigning, and has stopped advertising on television, even though he raised $2.2 million in the first quarter of this year.

    Asked to comment on the poll, a Kirk spokesperson replied with a sublimely Kirk-ian statement -- one that said nothing at all: “As a thoughtful, independent leader with a proven record of reform, Congressman Kirk will continue his fight to lower taxes, rein in wasteful government spending and spur economic growth. Voters have a clear choice in this election to change direction and restore integrity to the State of Illinois.”

    Kirk’s Invisible Candidate strategy is as politically shrewd as it is cost-effective. Because the voters don’t need to know anything about Mark Kirk.

    Except that he’s not named Alexi Giannoulias.