In U.S. Senate Barnburner, KY Democrat Grimes Edges Republican Icon Mitch McConnell, Assuming McConnell Survives Primary Challenge

SurveyUSA Breaking News - 02/24/14 08:41 AM

Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, a Republican fixture in the United States Senate, finds himself in a fierce uphill fight against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the 11/04/14 general election, according to a Bluegrass Poll conducted for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Lexington Herald-Leader, WHAS-TV Louisville and WKYT-TV Lexington.

It’s the challenger Grimes 46%, the incumbent McConnell 42%, in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup today, the survey of 1,082 registered KY voters finds. Such a match-up assumes that McConnell survives a 05/20/14 GOP Primary challenge from fellow Republican Matthew Bevin. At this hour, McConnell is well positioned, up 55% to 29% over the more conservative Bevin, among 404 eligible registered Republicans. But the increasingly contested primary means a battered McConnell is being attacked from all sides.

In the general-election match-up: McConnell has the support of conservatives, and Grimes has the support of liberals, both of which are to be expected. But Grimes outperforms McConnell 5:3 among moderates, and on this rock she builds her church. McConnell leads in Eastern and Western KY. Grimes leads in greater Louisville and North Central KY.

Republican voters are split on whether McConnell is too combative or too conciliatory: 35% of Republicans say McConnell compromises too much with Democrats, 20% say he compromises too little, and 32% say he compromises just the right amount. By contrast: 19% say Matt Bevin would, if elected, compromise too much, 16% say Bevin would compromise too little, and 22% say Bevin would compromise just the right amount. As you might expect, 43% are not sure about what Bevin would do if elected.

Among all registered voters:

  • McConnell is viewed favorably by 27%, unfavorably by 50%. (Minus 23).
  • Grimes is viewed favorably by 26%, unfavorably by 27%. (Minus 1). 29% are neutral on Grimes, another 18% have no opinion.
  • Bevin is viewed favorably by 10%, unfavorably by 17%. (Minus 7). 37% are neutral on Bevin, another 37% have no opinion.

Other findings from the Bluegrass Poll:

  • President Barack Obama has a Minus 26 Net Job Approval: 34% approve of Obama, 60% disapprove.
  • Mitch McConnell has a Minus 28 Net Job Approval, slightly worse than the President: 32% approve of McConnell, 60% disapprove.
  • By contrast, KY Governor Steve Beshear has a Plus 20 Net Job Approval: 54% approve of Beshear, 34% disapprove.
  • Among all registered voters, Rand Paul has a Plus 1 Net Job Approval: 46% approve of Paul, 45% disapprove.
  • Among just registered Republicans, 33% say Paul should run for President in 2016. 24% say Paul should run for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016. 23% say Paul should run for both offices simultaneously, if the law permits. And 16% say Paul should not run for office in 2016.
  • By the narrowest margin, Kentucky favors repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. 49% say repeal, 44% say fix as needed.
  • By 2:1, Kentucky favors raising the minimum wage to $10.10. 61% support a raise, 32% want the wage to remain at $7.25.
  • By 7:4, Kentucky supports a law that would ban smoking in bars and restaurants. 57% favor, 33% oppose.
  • By 3:2, Kentucky supports allowing the use of medical marijuana. 52% favor, 37% oppose.
  • By 5:3, the state is opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to marry. 35% favor, 55% oppose.
  • Support for a state constitutional amendment that would give voters a right to approve or reject specific local sales taxes runs 60% to 24% in favor. When the same question was asked 02/23/13, 72% supported an amendment, 19% opposed.

Cell-phone and home-phone respondents were included in this research. SurveyUSA interviewed 1,200 state of KY adults 01/30/14 through 02/03/14. Of the adults, 1,082 were registered to vote in the state of Kentucky. Of the registered, 404 were registered as Republicans, and are eligible to vote in the Republican Primary. Primary questions asked only of Republicans. Other questions asked of all registered voters. This survey was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (77% of registered voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (23% of registered voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device.



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