Tammy Duckworth holds a 10-point lead over Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), an advantage the Democratic congressional candidate is seeing thanks to Walsh's controversial comments and Tea Party membership, according to a poll released Friday by the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV.
Duckworth leads Walsh 50 percent to 40 percent, with 9 percent of likely voters still undecided. Just 12 percent of voters found Walsh's membership in the Tea Party caucus a selling point, while 40 percent said it made them less likely to vote for his reelection.
Walsh may also have lost points when he attacked Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran and double amputee, for speaking about her military service and implied that she wasn't a "true hero." According to the poll, 56 percent of voters disagreed that Duckworth exploited her military background for political gain. Just over a quarter agreed with Walsh's criticism.
Duckworth also attracted stronger favorability ratings than her rival, with 44 percent of voters holding a positive opinion of her, and 33 percent holding a negative one. More voters thought of Walsh negatively than positively, by 44 percent to 35 percent.
The Tribune/WGN-TV poll, conducted by Market Shares Corp., is the first independent survey of the Illinois 8th District race this year. Its results are similar to those of a swath of Democratic polling released this fall that also showed Duckworth ahead.
The poll surveyed 600 likely voters between Oct. 20 and 24, and had a 4 percent margin of error.