Leading Off:• IL-Sen: What the what? Local pollster Ogden & Fry just released a new survey of Illinois’ Senate race, and they have Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth beating GOP Sen. Mark Kirk by a rub-your-eyes-and-look-again margin 44 to … 27! Now, that’s a lot of undecideds, and if both candidates were scoring in the 20s, we’d write this off as another useless poll of the sort that, say, Franklin & Marshall regularly churns out.
But Duckworth at 44 is quite plausible, at least in a vacuum; the only other poll of this matchup, from conservative pollster We Ask America, had her at 46 and Kirk at 45. That makes Kirk—the incumbent—taking just 27 in this latest poll downright shocking. Part of that low tally is because he’s barely known, with a job approval rating of 17 positive and 31 negative. That means more than half of respondents don’t even have an opinion of him, but seeing as Duckworth represents just a small fraction of the state while Kirk serves the whole thing, how could she possibly be anything but even lesser-known than he?
Now, whenever you see results like this, your skepticism should automatically dial up to 11. What’s more, Ogden & Fry is a new firm without much of a track record. They first surfaced with their frequent polls of Chicago’s mayoral race earlier this year, and while their final numbers were decent, they often did not offer respondents the option to say they were undecided. That’s generally not considered a good practice, but on the other hand, they’ve wound up with a ton of undecideds here, which of course, as we’ve noted, leads to its own set of interpretive problems.
This is a classic case of needing to see further polling, but even if they’re far off the fairway, there’s no way Mark Kirk can feel good about these numbers….