Heading into the final weekend before the 05/20/14 Kentucky primary, incumbent GOP Senator Mitch McConnell soundly defeats more conservative Republican challenger Matt Bevin, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for the Louisville Courier-Journal, WHAS-TV, The Lexington Herald Leader, and WKYT-TV. It’s McConnell 55%, Bevin 35%.
50% of Republicans say Matt Bevin is too inexperienced and would harm KY’s ability to get things from DC, compared to 38% who say that Matt Bevin is the fresh face needed to shake things up in Washington. 38% of Republicans say McConnell has been in office too long and it’s time for him to go, compared to 55% of Republicans who say that McConnell’s expertise and seniority are important for Kentucky to have in Washington DC. 51% of Republicans say McConnell has done too little to stop federal spending, 33% say he has done the right amount. 54% of Republicans say McConnell has done too little to stop the Affordable Care Act, 31% say he has done the right amount.
Assuming McConnell emerges triumphant from Tuesday’s primary, and looking ahead to the 11/04/14 general election, the forecast is cloudy for the Senate Minority Leader, who stands to become Majority Leader should he hold his seat and should Republicans capture control of the Upper Chamber.
Today, it’s even-steven, McConnell 42% vs 43% for his lesser known but well-financed Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. These results are a nominal 3 points more favorable to McConnell than the most recent Bluegrass Poll, released 02/04/14. That poll was conducted of registered voters; this poll is of likely voters. Today, Grimes has built a narrow coalition of Democrats (74% support) and moderates (60%). The rest of her support is below 50% (women 45%, greater Louisville 48%). McConnell holds on because he is backed by conservatives (68%), Republicans (69%), and because where he trails, it is narrowly, and by single digits, such as among Independents, where McConnell is down 38% to 32%. 6-months till votes are counted, even in the face of these poll numbers, McConnell cannot be underestimated. The national Republican Party is not prepared to lose his seat; every last dollar will be spent to keep it.
Among all registered voters:
* Grimes has a Plus 14 Job Approval as KY Secretary of State: 46% approve of the job she’s doing, 32% disapprove.
* McConnell has a Minus 22 Job Approval as KY’s senior Senator: 34% approve of the job he’s doing, 56% disapprove.
* Grimes favorability is Plus 8 (35% view her favorably, 27% view her unfavorably).
* McConnell’s favorability is Minus 20 (29% favorable, 49% unfavorable).
* Bevin’s favorability is Minus 3 (22% favorable, 25% unfavorable).
* President Barack Obama’s favorability in KY is Minus 28 (29% favorable, 57% unfavorable).
69% of registered voters say the USA is off on the wrong track, compared to 21% who say the country is headed in the right direction. Frustration with Congress is so high that 62% of of registered voters say that if they had the chance, they would vote to throw out every member of Congress and start over. 27% oppose the idea.
KY is divided on a state constitutional amendment that would restore voting rights to convicted felons after they serve their sentences. 52% support a change; 34% oppose.
KY is opposed to using state funds to renovate an arena in Lexington. 75% say Lexington should find some other way to finance the project.
Looking ahead to 2016, in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up, Kentucky voters were asked to choose between KY GOP Senator Rand Paul and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Paul carries KY today, 30 months out, 48% to 44%, largely on the basis of a 25-point Gender Gap. Men back Paul by 17 points. Women back Clinton by 8 points.
Cell-phone and home-phone respondents included in this research:SurveyUSA interviewed 2,000 state of KY adults 05/14/14 through 05/16/14. Of the adults, 1,782 were registered to vote. Of the registered, 747 were Registered Republicans, and of them, 605 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 05/20/14 Republican Primary, 1,475 were determined to be likely to vote in the 11/04/14 general election. This survey 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.