9 Weeks to Election Day, Does Kentucky’s McConnell Begin To Seal The Deal for Term # 6? Bluegrass Voters Oppose Rand Paul Double-Dipping
A Labor Day Weekend look at the election for United States Senator from Kentucky shows incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell inching further ahead of Democratic Challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for the Louisville Courier-Journal, The Lexington Herald-Leader, WHAS-TV and WKYT-TV.
Today, it’s McConnell 46%, Grimes 42%, Libertarian David Patterson 5%, and 8% undecided. McConnell’s 4-point advantage is his strongest 2014 Bluegrass Poll showing to date. The “who will you vote for” results mirror a question later in the survey, which asks voters whether Republicans or Democrats would do a better job of controlling the US Senate. 47% say the Republicans would do a better job running the Senate; 43% say the Democrats would do a better job. In both cases, Republicans are ahead by 4.
Voters by 2:1 trust McConnell to protect KY’s coal interests. Voters by 3:2 trust McConnell on foreign policy. Voters by 4:3 trust McConnell on immigration. Voters split on which Senate candidate is stronger on the economy. Voters by 5:3 trust Grimes to improve the lives of women.
McConnell’s entire lead comes from men, where he is up by 10 points. The contest is effectively even among women. McConnell holds 79% of the Republican base. Grimes holds 67% of the Democratic base. Independents and moderates both break for Grimes. In Western KY, McConnell leads by 23. In Eastern KY, McConnell leads by 27. Grimes keeps it close, with strong performances in greater Louisville, where she leads by 7 points, and in North Central KY, where she leads by 9 points.
McConnell’s Net Favorability today is Minus 10 (46% of KY voters have an unfavorable opinion of him, compared to 36% who have a favorable opinion). This is an improvement from May 2014, when McConnell was at Minus 20. Grimes’s Net Favorability today is Plus 1 (38% have a favorable opinion of her, compared to 37% who have an unfavorable opinion). Grimes’s unfavorable numbers have risen slowly but steadily since May 2014, when she was Plus 8. Patterson has a Minus 6 Net Favorability today, but remains largely unknown (6% like him, 12% dislike him, 46% are neutral, and 36% have no opinion whatsoever). As one point of reference, President Barack Obama is Minus 28 today (29% view him favorably, 57% view him unfavorably). As a second point of reference, former President Bill Clinton is Plus 27 today (53% view him favorably, 27% unfavorably).
U.S. Senator Rand Paul is at Plus 7 today (39% view him favorably, 32% view him unfavorably). Even so, 66% of KY voters do not want to change Kentucky law to permit Paul to run for both the US Senate and for the White House simultaneously in 2016. 22% of KY voters say Paul should run for just the White House. 24% say Paul should run for just the Senate. 15% say Paul should run for both offices at the same time. 33% say Paul should not run for anything.
Cell-phone and home-phone respondents included in this research: SurveyUSA interviewed 700 state of Kentucky adults 08/25/14 through 08/27/14. Of the adults, 647 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 569 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 11/04/14 general election. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (72% of likely voters) 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.