Kirk’s Lead Shrinks Some in Illinois GOP Primary Poll

Posted January 24, 2010 at 6:30pm

With nine days left until the Feb. 2 Illinois Senate primary, real estate developer Patrick Hughes (R) has gained support in a new survey done for his campaign — but he still trails the GOP frontrunner, Rep. Mark Kirk, by a 20-point margin in the open-seat race.

Hughes had 22 percent of the likely GOP voter in a survey sponsored by his own campaign, while Kirk scored 42 percent. Every other GOP candidate in the race had less than 5 percent support in the uninformed ballot poll, while 27 percent of survey respondents said they were undecided.

Hughes, who has already given $247,000 of his own money in the race, is considered to be Kirk’s chief primary competition. He is attacking the Congressman from the right at a time when conservatives are flexing their muscle in GOP contests. But he has badly trailed the five-term Congressman in prior public polls.

The Shamrock Polling survey took the opinions of 1,104 likely Republican voters on Jan. 21 and 22. It had a 4.5-point margin of error.

A Chicago Tribune poll from early December gave Kirk a commanding 41-point lead against Hughes, who only had 3 percent of the vote at that time. That poll did show 46 percent of the 600 likely GOP voters polled undecided.

A more recent Chicago Tribune poll on the Senate race is expected to be released this week, including results from the competitive Democratic primary featuring state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias — the frontrunner — along with former Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Robinson Jackson, attorney Jacob Meister and former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman.