Looks like Republican Matt Bevin's comments on destroying Medicare expansion and Kynect here in Kentucky if elected as governor in last week's farm bureau forum with AG Jack Conway hurt him somewhat, as he's now down three points in the latest Bluegrass Poll after a four point lead in June.
Despite a summer of social change and subsequent conservative backlash, Attorney General Jack Conway holds a slim advantage over Republican Matt Bevin in this year's race for Kentucky governor, according to a new Bluegrass Poll.
Conway, the Democratic nominee, leads Bevin 45 percent to 42 percent, with 13 percent of voters undecided.
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, which means the two candidates are locked in a toss-up race with large numbers of voters up for grabs just before Saturday's Fancy Farm picnic, the annual event in Western Kentucky that serves as the unofficial kick-off for the fall campaigns.
The survey of 685 likely voters was conducted July 22-28 by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV in Lexington and The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV in Louisville. Seventy-two percent of respondents were surveyed on their home telephone and 28 percent were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.
The wild card remains independent candidate Drew Curtis (we're famous for those here.)
When potential independent candidate Drew Curtis, the founder of alternative news website Fark.com, is added to the mix, he takes support from both candidates. Curtis polled at 8 percent, leaving Conway with 43 percent and Bevin with 38 percent.
Bevin, a party outsider who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in last year's GOP Senate primary, has picked up support among Republicans since winning the gubernatorial primary in May, when he trailed Conway 37 percent to 48 percent, but there are signs that he continues to have problems uniting his party.
Among registered Republicans, 15 percent said they plan to vote for Conway. More than 1 in 4 of those who consider themselves "conservative" said they plan to vote for Conway, as did 15 percent of those who described themselves as "very conservative."
Likewise, a substantial number of Democrats — 20 percent — support Bevin over Conway, though that number is less surprising given that many conservative Kentucky Democrats routinely vote for Republican candidates.
And yes, as much as it enrages me to say this, it turns out that Conway running against Obama isn't hurting him as much as I thought, and may actually be a net benefit to him as Republicans see Bevin as too much of a nutbar and may vote for Conway. They remember Bevin's attack on Mitch the Turtle last year, and they also remember that Bevin barely got a third of the GOP vote in the primary this year. The guy just isn't that popular.
Jim Chappell, 64, of Louisville, said he would vote for Conway because Conway is not a Republican.
"I think Republicans have a disgusting philosophy," Chappell said. "If Donald Duck was running against them, I would vote for Donald Duck."
Jessica Whitedove, 67, of Perry County, said Conway is the lesser of two evils, but there are no good options in the governor's race.
"We don't have much to choose from. We really don't, and that is sad, but you've got to pick somebody," Whitedove said. "We can not let the Republicans rule. I'm going to watch another debate, then I'll make my final decision, I guess."
Of course, neither is Jack Conway.
Jim Weaks, 50, of Louisville, said he'll likely vote for Bevin because Conway does not follow through on his promises.
"Jack Conway is a guy that stands and says all kinds of stuff, but he doesn't do anything," Weaks said. "He's a good talker, he's a good spokesman, but I don't believe anything that comes out of his mouth."
We'll see how much support bleeds to Drew Curtis.