The winners of their respective primaries in Illinois, Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, will face off in November for the Obama's former Senate seat. Rasmussen has the first post-primary poll with Kirk leading Gianoulias 46% to 40%.
The poll comes directly on the heels of a very contested Democratic primary and at a time when nationally Democrats are looking very bad because of weak messaging and inaction on health care reform. As a result, this one poll might not be reflective of the general standing of this race long term. Even still, Mark Kirk is a top-tier candidate for Republicans. He currently has strong favorability ratings with 55% having favorable opinion and only 33% have an unfavorable opinion of Kirk.
Kirk's skill as a politician and long record representing the 10th district combined with a bad national political climate for Democrats might put Illinois in play this year. We will need to wait for more polling in the next few weeks after they start campaigning against each other in earnest to get a better sense of where the race potentially stands.