Obama Soars in Poll

What did Alan Keyes hope to accomplish with his last-minute entry into the Illinois senate race? A new Chicago Tribune poll has him biting the dust--and bringing down local Republican candidates.

The nation's first Senate contest featuring two major party African-American candidates is beginning in lopsided fashion, with nearly two-thirds of voters indicating support for Democrat Barack Obama and less than one-quarter backing Keyes, according to a new Tribune/WGN-TV poll.

The poll suggests that Keyes' candidacy could hurt other Republicans in local and legislative races. Nearly three in ten voters said they were less likely to back GOP candidates because of the way party leaders went about settling on Keyes as their candidate, though 59 percent said it would make no difference. Although Keyes came late to the race, a sizable number of voters said they had heard of the former presidential candidate. However, more than twice as many said they viewed him with disfavor as said they viewed him favorably, the survey found.

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