A pair of Rasmussen polls are demonstrative of the political power of social conservatism in U.S. politics. In Illinois, the Republicans have a pro-lifer, Bill Brady, challenging the incumbent Governor Pat Quinn. Brady is leading Quinn, an abortion rights suppoters, by a decisive 48%-35%. This will be a great pickup for the Republicans, and pro-lifers. In the Illinois Senate race, the Republicans picked a “moderate” to be their standard-bearer and Mark Kirk is predictably trailing Democrat Alexi Giannoulias 42%-40%. Kirk is almost certainly trailing because socially conservative voters are eschewing the pro-abortion candidate, who have absolutely no reason to back the resolutely pro-death Republican; this week Kirk condemned a US District Court judge’s injunction against the federal government’s funding of destructive embryonic stem cell research and called upon Democrat leaders to expedite the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act which funds ESCR).

The Illinois Senate seat is one that the Republicans thought they could win. It was Barack Obama’s old seat and there was controversy in the appointment of his lackluster replacement, Roland W. Burris. The party is in a statewide mess courtesy of former governor Rod Blagojevich. The Democrat candidate, Giannoulias, has ties to the city’s corrupt Democrat machine, including Tony Rezko. The conditions are perfect for a pickup, but yet Kirk trails.

The Republicans have an outside chance to win the Senate. They need to pick up nine seats from the Democrats and the route to victory includes winning every vulnerable Democrat seats. It would be delicious if GOP were prevented from winning a Senate majority by nominating a so-called electable, moderate Republican who actively turns off pro-life conservatives, the base of the GOP. They deserve to lose Illinois.