Alexi Giannoulias stayed comfortably ahead in the Democratic primary for Illinois's US Senate seat, according to the latest polls.
The figures, released Sunday by the Tribune, give Giannoulias 34% of the vote, a three-point improvement over his early-December numbers and 15 percent higher than the next candidate. Urban League president Cheryle Jackson registered 19% of the vote, gaining two points but falling further behind Alexi.
The most movement came for David Hoffman, the Inspector General for Chicago. He polled in at 16%, up seven from the Tribune's last poll. Hoffman has campaigned as the outsider, pointing to Jackson's ties to the perennially egg-faced Rod Blagojevich and Giannoulias's banking connections to convicted felon Tony Rezko. In recent weeks, Hoffman has garnered endorsements from nearly every major statewide paper, including the Sun-Times, the Tribune, the Daily Herald and the State Journal-Register.
With some momentum in his favor, Hoffman could make a late-game run at Alexi, especially given that 26% of those surveyed were undecided. But with so much ground to make up, and with Cheryle Jackson unlikely to lose much ground (if anything, she may well shore up more of the black vote before election day), Hoffman's still the dark horse--the smart money appears to be on Giannoulias for now.