Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Turtle's Race Tightens

The latest Bluegrass Poll from Kentucky's major newspapers and TV stations finds Mitch McConnell's lead over Alison Lundergan Grimes down to just 2 points, 47-45%.

The real story, as usual, is in the crosstabs. 17% of self-identified conservatives are voting for Grimes, but 18% of liberals are voting for Mitch.  Grimes is also winning voters making less than $40k by 4 points, and those making over 80k by the same margin, but McConnell is winning the middle there by 9 points, 52-43%.

When you throw Libertarian David Patterson into the mix, things get complicated.  It turns into a 41-39% race with McConnell keeping his 2 point lead, but Patterson gets 7% and the undecideds jump from 8% in a two-person race to 13%.  In other words, Patterson is pulling equally from both candidates, and not hurting one or the other.

McConnell's favorable rating is down to 36% in this poll, with 43% unfavorable. The problem is Grimes has the exact same 36% rating, although her unfavorable rating is 33%.  31% are neutral or have no opinion of her, even at this point in the race.  By comparison, President Obama's favorable rating here is 28%, with 55% unfavorable.  Welcome to Kentucky, folks.

In Mitch's favor, 48% say Republicans would do a better job controlling the Senate, to 40% for the Democrats remaining in control.  In Grimes's favor, she only trails McConnell by 4 point, 43-39%, over which candidate would "strike the right balance" between coal jobs and the environment, so her stance on coal isn't hurting her.

The state is split on Medicare: 42-42% on who would keep Medicare affordable.  Grimes has a 4 point edge on creating jobs, 41-37%

Finally, the state agrees 46-40% on the Hobby Lobby decision (men agree 55-34%, women disagree 45-39%) but voters back a candidate who would keep the state's current abortion laws in place, 43-39%.

We'll see how all this shakes out, but Kentucky is still pretty conservative, and Grimes playing the conservative Democrat card is definitely keeping her in this race.  We'll see what happens with this year's Fancy Farm campaign event on Friday.

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