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Kirk's military service controversy: 45% of voters say Kirk not truthful, PPP poll shows; Green Party looms as factor

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WASHINGTON-- GOP Illinois Senate nominee Rep. Mark Kirk (D-Ill.) is taking a hit from disclosures he embellished his military record, the first polling since the controversy broke shows. A survey by Public Policy Polling shows the contest between Kirk and Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias in a deadlock with 45 percent polled saying that Kirk lied about his record. The poll also shows a new problem for Giannoulias: Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones could be a factor, draining votes from Giannoulias; he is getting 26 percent of the black vote, which usually is heavily Democratic.

Both Kirk and Giannoulias are now unpopular with voters. Kirk's favorability rating dived nine points in the poll of 552 Illinois voters taken from June 12th- 13th with a 4.2 percent margin of error.

If the election was today, who would you vote for?
31 Giannoulias
30 Kirk
14 Jones
24 Undecided

Do you think Mark Kirk has been truthful about
his military record?

10 Kirk yes
45 Kirk no
45 Unsure

How closely have you been following the
recent news about Mark Kirk's military record?
22 Very closely
35 Somewhat closely
43 Not very closely

Below, release from Public Policy Polling....

The upcoming Illinois Senatorial election could be close. Alexi Giannoulias has inched
passed Republican opponent Mark Kirk. Voters prefer Giannoulias 31 to 30, in
comparison to April when Giannoulias was down 37-33. Still 24% of voters remain

The controversy surrounding Kirk's military record has taken a toll on him. 45% of
voters believe he hasn't been truthful about his military service. The scandal has pushed
Kirk into the headlines and has gained him unsightly name recognition. Kirk's
favorability ratings have taken a hit--31% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of him
today in comparison with 23% on the previous poll.

Moderates are more likely to vote for Giannoulias 33 to 27. However while Giannoulias
is strong amongst moderates, Independents favor Kirk, 26 to 20. This trend has persisted
across the country recently, breaking the traditional mold. Independents tend to lean to
the right of Republicans, while moderates lean left of center.

While Giannoulias is doing well amongst Democrats and liberals, LeAlan Jones of the
Green Party could take votes away from the Democratic nominee. Currently 16% of
those who voted for President Obama support Jones. Jones is also doing well amongst
Independents and could also take away from Kirk's base.

Obama's approval ratings have risen slightly over the past month in his home state from
50 to 53. Senator Dick Durbin's approval ratings have also slightly increased over the
past month. Voters still generally disapprove of Senator Roland Burris's job
performance; 19:54.

"Voters in Illinois are tuning into a soap opera not an election," said Dean Debnam,
President of Public Policy Polling. "The Senate election is about scandals not issues. The
candidate who can turn the focus of the race from their personal issues to the real issues
will have the best chance of winning over undecideds."

PPP surveyed 552 Illinois voters from June 12th- 13th. The survey's margin of error is +/-
4.2%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce
additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

1 Comment

As of about a week ago, I think the list of Kirk lies was up to eight separate incidents: Kirk (1) falsely claimed he served "in" Operation Iraqi Freedom; (2) falsely claimed to "command the war room in the Pentagon"; (3) falsely claimed to have won the U.S. Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year award; (4) falsely claimed to have been shot at by the Iraqi Air Defense network; (5) falsely claimed to be a veteran of Desert Storm; (6) falsely claimed to be the only lawmaker to serve during Operation Iraqi Freedom; and (7) falsely claimed to have been shot at in Kosovo; and (8) falsely claimed to have been shot at in Kandahar.

And, we can add number 9 with the deployment debunking, in which Kirk repeatedly claims his annual training missions are deployments. The Navy begs to differ.

Also number 10, as well, since we're now getting confirmation from the DOD that Kirk had violated Pentagon policy by conducting partisan political activity while on active duty, which Kirk has strenuously denied, even to the point of claiming that the Obama administration altered his record.

Can Kirk break a dozen lies? Given the latest polling, maybe he should try an entirely new campaign tactic. Like say: Telling The Truth?!?!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 15, 2010 11:57 AM.

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