Bevin, Comer, Heiner Stagger Toward Finish Line in KY Gubernatorial Republican Primary; No Clear Favorite 1 Week Till Votes Are Counted
One week till Kentucky Republicans vote in a primary for Governor, candidates Matt Bevin, Hal Heiner, and James Comer are effectively even, according to the Bluegrass Poll released by The Louisville Courier-Journal, The Lexington Herald Leader, WHAS-TV in Louisville and WKYT-TV in Lexington.
There is no clear favorite in the contest at this hour, given the inherent limitations of a sample size of 517 likely Republican primary voters. The 3 candidates may finish one, two, three in any order. Every Republican primary vote will be critical to the emergent victor, who will face Democrat Jack Conway in a general election for Governor on 11/03/15.
Nominally: Bevin is backed by 27% of GOP primary voters … but his support is disproportionately young … and primary voters are disproportionately old. Bevin may under-perform these numbers. Bevin leads among those who identify themselves as “very” conservative. Comer is backed by 26% of GOP primary voters. His support is old; he leads among seniors. Heiner is backed by 25% of GOP primary voters. His backers disproportionately identify themselves as “strong” Republicans.
Western KY votes strongly for Comer. Greater Louisville narrowly prefers Heiner to Bevin. North Central KY overwhelmingly prefers Bevin. Eastern KY splits between Comer and Heiner. The least affluent and most affluent Republican primary voters back Comer. Middle-income Republican Primary voters back Bevin.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway, who defeats Geoff Young 5:1 in next week’s primary, has convinced a majority of Democratic primary voters that he neither would side too much with the coal industry (11%), nor side too much with environmentalists (12%), but instead would adopt a balanced approach (58%). Similarly, among Democratic primary voters, 11% say Conway is too conservative, 13% say Conway is too liberal, but an overwhelming majority of Democratic primary voters (63%) say Conway’s political ideology is “just about right.”
In hypothetical head-to-head match-ups for the 11/03/15 general election for Kentucky Governor, among registered KY voters today:
* Conway defeats Comer by 6 points, 45% to 39%.
* Conway defeats Heiner by 12 points, 48% to 36%.
* Conway defeats Bevin by 11 points, 48% to 37%.
Looking ahead to 2016, Republicans primary voters like the Favorite Son, as follows:
* Rand Paul, 26%.
* Mike Huckabee, 15%.
* Jeb Bush, 12%.
* Scott Walker 10%.
* All other 2016 Republican presidential candidates are in single digits.
In a general election in 2016, where the only two names on the ballot were Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rand Paul, Bluegrass voters split, 45% for Paul, 45% for Clinton. Election Day is in 78 weeks.
About this survey: SurveyUSA interviewed 2,400 state of KY adults 05/05/15 through 05/10/15. Of the adults, 2,104 were registered to vote in the state of Kentucky. Of the registered voters, 517 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 05/19/15 Republican Primary, 707 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 05/19/15 Democratic Primary. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.