There are chinks in Mark Kirk's conservative armor, but are there enough to keep the Republican Congressman from winning his party's 2010 Senate nomination?
A new poll released by rival candidate Patrick Hughes, a Hinsdale developer, shows pronounced ambivalence among conservatives to support Kirk, the GOP frontrunner in the race for Barack Obama's former seat.
The poll of 500 likely Republican Primary voters, conducted September 14-15 by Market Research Insight, found Kirk's favorability rating at just 27 percent, with only 23 percent of respondents willing to commit to voting for him in a primary with seven other candidates.
The polled voters labeled themselves as 69 percent conservative and 26 percent moderate, a potentially troubling number for Kirk, who voted in favor of the president's cap-and-trade bill and supports abortion rights.
A full 63 percent said they oppose the cap-and-trade bill and only 12 percent support it. Upon being told that Kirk was one of eight Republicans who voted for the cap-and-trade bill, 68 percent said that makes them more likely to vote against him. Kirk has since walked away from his vote, saying that if the same bill comes to a vote in the Senate he would vote against it (which could have its own consequences in a general election).
Perhaps most revealing of the gulf between Illinois Republican voters and the national party were the answers to this question:
"If most of the top Republicans in Washington supported Kirk's Senate bid would that encourage you to vote for or against Mark Kirk?"
Only 19 percent of respondents said the national push would encourage them a lot to vote for Kirk and 24 percent said encourage them a little. Another 13 percent wanted to vote against Kirk should Washington Republicans back him, with 44 percent saying the Washington support would have no influence on them.
The survey had a 4.5 percent margin of error.
Read the poll memo: