At the Daily Caller, Alexis Levinson reports that
A poll conducted by Illinois-based pollster and political strategist Michael McKeon found Obama leading Republican Mitt Romney by 49 percent to 37 percent in Cook County, the home of Chicago. That puts him ahead by a far thinner margin than expected in a county he should be winning handsomely.
. . . .
In the city of Chicago itself, he retains a 60-29 lead over Romney. But the Republican challenger leads 45-38 in the surrounding areas. Across the county as a whole, Romney leads 43-31 among independent voters, a crucial voting bloc. Romney also holds a 44-38 lead among male voters, and a 53-40 lead among white voters.
If Mitt Romney is leading in suburban Cook County, that is not good news for Barack Obama. It also means he’s likely ahead in the next largest (after Cook) counties in the state, DuPage, Lake, Will and Kane (Chicago suburbs and exurbs). Just two years ago, Republican Mark Kirk lost Cook County by a 2-to-1 margin while winning the state by 2 points.
With this poll finding Romney ahead in the inner suburbs of the nation’s third largest city in the president’s home state, we can expect even more favorable results for the Republican challenger in the suburbs of other big cities.
If these poll numbers are not just statistical noise, Illinois is in play. A Democrat needs to win Cook County by at least 2-to-1 to hold the state. And if enthusiasm for Republicans is higher in November, then we’ll see a larger Romney turnout in the outer suburbs and downstate, meaning Obama may have to fight to hold his home state.