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Kirk Holds 21 Point Lead In Internal Poll

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) holds a 21-point lead over his Democratic challenger Dan Seals in his race for re-election, according a two month-old internal poll released by his campaign.

The poll shows Kirk leading Seals 50 percent to 29 percent, with 21 percent of district-wide voters saying they remain undecided. Seals' head-to-head polling numbers are largely reflective of his lower name identification - nearly half of the voters either had "no opinion" or said they "never heard of" Seals.

Still, Kirk's 50 percent level of support is strong, given the suburban Chicago district's Democratic leanings and the potential impact of home-state Sen. Barack Obama on the Democratic down-ballot candidates.

The poll also shows that Kirk is still viewed very favorably by a large majority of his constituents, with 61 percent of respondents viewing him favorably and 21 percent viewing him unfavorably. Seals was viewed favorably by 36 percent of voters, while 15 percent viewed him unfavorably.

The poll, surveying 300 likely general election voters from March 14 to 16, was conducted by the GOP firm McLaughlin and Associates. The margin of error was plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.

Seals is one of the Democrats' top recruits this election cycle. He handily defeated a well-funded primary rival to win the party nomination in February. He won 47 percent of the vote against Kirk despite receiving little support from the national party establishment in 2006.