By Columbus Day, Obama willbe behind in Illinois! You heard it here first, Kids!
On Wednesday, the American Research Group released polling data on the State of Illinois showing Senator Obama's lead dropping to just 6 points - 51%-45%. The poll conducted by ARG polled 600 likely voters in Illinois with a 4% margin of error.
Although, I believe it is unlikely that Obama could ever lose Illinois, simply because of the "North of I-80 vote", the poll is significant because it's highlights Obama's failure to attract the wider populous of Illinois as the candidate has not enjoyed a margin greater than that of Kerry or Gore since this past February.
In 2000, Gore won Illinois by 12 points; in 2004, Kerry won by 10 points. In both cases, George Bush overwhelmingly won throughout the state but was unable to overcome the nearly 40% of the votes flowing from Cook County. In February, Obama enjoyed as much as a 29 point lead only to see those numbers decrease to 15 points by August.
Obama will win Illinois, but if he is unable to attract a wide margin in his home state, then Obama may be in trouble nationally. The Obama campaign has taken notice of this poll, as Obama made a personal phone call to his political mentor, Emil Jones, on Wednesday to ask the Illinois Senate Leader to allow a vote on stalled ethics reforms.
Illinois is representative of the future of an Obama representative. After 6 years of Chicago Political control, the state has failed to pass a balanced budget and this year has chosen to privatize the states lottery system, layoff state employees and close state parks and historical sites, including reduced operations of President Lincolns' Tomb. Illinois revenue has grown during the past six years only to be offset by more than $10 billion in additional state programs that threaten to bankrupt the state. Illinois has consistently at the bottom of all states in job growth and economic growth, while raising operating fees on businesses throughout the state.