A lot of reports this week about stepped up DSCC efforts to get Lisa Madigan to run for the Senate next year in Illinois.
I doubt they're really worried about losing this seat. Our poll a couple weeks ago did show Alexi Giannoulias and Jan Schakowsky having a hard time with Mark Kirk, but that was with many more Democrats undecided than folks of other political stripes. Assuming those Democrats would end up coming home either of those candidates would probably get a victory somewhere around the 55-45 mark. But it would probably take at least some DSCC resources to make it happen, and there's the potential for it to become stressful for Democrats.
If Lisa Madigan was the candidate the stress- and the need for DSCC money- ceases from day one. Mark Kirk probably doesn't even bother to run. Madigan got 24% of the Republican vote against Kirk in our poll- compared to just 8% for Giannoulias and 5% for Schakowksy. If you pull a quarter of the GOP vote in a state that's very Democratic to begin with the game is over. Madigan has a level of crossover appeal that is quite unusual.
And while Kirk has a double digit lead among independents against two of the other potential Democratic contenders, mirroring a trend we are finding in many states, Madigan leads him 44-32 with them.
If Madigan runs national Democrats can pretty much cross Illinois off the list of states to worry about and centralize resources more toward defending seats that truly are vulnerable and picking off ones currently held by Republicans. It's no wonder they want her to jump in.