Kentucky poll: Mitch McConnell now trails Democratic challenger by four points in Senate bid

posted at 4:01 pm on February 7, 2014 by Allahpundit

Each of the five polls taken since December have had the race tight, but this is the first one showing Alison Lundergan Grimes in the lead. Noise or omen?

I know what you’re thinking, but don’t celebrate just yet.

“This is not going to be a coast for Mitch McConnell,” said pollster Jay Leve of Survey USA. “It’s going to be a dogfight. Every vote is going to matter. This election is going to have national consequences. We’re going to see a lot of money from outside interests flow into Kentucky.”…

Sixty percent of likely voters in the Bluegrass Poll disapprove of McConnell’s job performance, matching President Barack Obama’s sixty percent disapproval rating in Kentucky…

Among likely voters, McConnell and Grimes have virtually identical favorability ratings in the poll, 27 percent for McConnell and 26 percent for Grimes.

But McConnell’s 50 percent unfavorability rating is nearly twice Grimes’ 27 percent unfavorability rating.

A 27/50 favorability rating is not the stuff of which reelection is made. That means Matt Bevin’s the obvious choice on electability grounds in the GOP primary, right? He’s doing about as well as McConnell is against Grimes right now, trailing by just five points. One recent poll from Rasmussen even had him outperforming McConnell head to head with the Democrat.

Maybe not. Survey USA has McConnell leading Bevin in the primary by 26 points, 55/29. Why? Because, while McConnell may be toxic to Democrats and independents, he’s still above water within his own party. Among Republicans, his job approval is net positive at 51/41 while his favorable rating is 46/30. Even more interesting, when you ask Kentucky GOPers if McConnell compromises too much, too little, or just the right amount with Democrats, they split 35/20/32, i.e., there’s a clear majority who either approve of his dealmaking or wish he would do more, a mild surprise among a base that nominated Rand Paul four years ago. The knock on him from grassroots righties is that he’s the RINO di tutti RINOs but, if you believe Survey USA, Kentucky Republicans aren’t seeing it.

Bevin’s numbers on the “compromise” question, incidentally, are 19/16/22, but it’s hard to draw firm lessons about him from that given that he’s still unknown to so many voters (when asked whether they view Bevin favorably or unfavorably, fully 64 percent of GOPers either said “neutral” or “no opinion”). Right now, as is always true of a tea-party challenger in the early stages, he’s more “Republican who isn’t the incumbent I dislike” than he is a candidate with discrete views of his own. What happens, though, once voters realize he’s running to McConnell’s right? In theory, the fact that even Republican voters prefer compromise would hurt him; Bevin himself is sufficiently worried about that that he took care to denounce the government shutdown last October (sort of) to put voters at ease. On the other hand, he’s posted photos of himself attending Bircher events, which is … not so compromise-y. He’s trying to find the sweet spot between being conservative enough to get tea partiers psyched to turn out in the primary and swamp the moderates backing McConnell and not so conservative that it’s easy for Grimes to demagogue him if he makes it to the general. Not easy, but Rubio was facing the same problem against Crist four years ago and you know how that turned out.

By the way, keep an eye on the proxy war that’s brewing here between the Clintons and Rand Paul, who’s taken to calling Bill a “sexual predator” lately. Grimes is bringing Bill Clinton to Kentucky to try to seize the electoral middle ground, in the expectation that McConnell and Bevin will spend the next few months tacking right for the primary. McConnell will, at some point, bring in his pal Rand to go to bat for him, whether in the primary or the general. Will Monica Lewinsky be name-checked before November? Fingers crossed.


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Rand Paul: I only endorsed Mitch McConnell because nobody else was running at the time

conservativeBC on February 8, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Interesting, he said he did because McConnell asked; I wonder if both candidates are currently courting his endorsement.

thebrokenrattle on February 8, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Bevin’s numbers on the “compromise” question, incidentally, are 19/16/22, but it’s hard to draw firm lessons about him from that given that he’s still unknown to so many voters (when asked whether they view Bevin favorably or unfavorably, fully 64 percent of GOPers either said “neutral” or “no opinion”).

The “compromise” question is a loaded question intended to help Democrats. Tea party candidates should answer it just like Ted Cruz does.

http://youtu.be/L1eP676PBoM

bluegill on February 8, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Not buying that McConnell is a conservative. He’s obviously not a leader. Many opportunities presented and he was otherwise engaged.

It’s very important to oppose him now – even if he squeaks by in the end, because no party likes its own leadership struggling to be re-elected.

It’s more important that McConnell be relieved of command. He could still be useful as a senator, supposing KY still wants him – that’s up to the voters.

virgo on February 8, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Another race with two Democrats in it. Ho-hum.

Over50 on February 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

He didn’t oppose Obamacare either. Sorry, but doing nothing and saying vote for me because it wasn’t my fault at the same time targeting Constitutional Conservatives doesn’t cut it. I noticed that nobody still can’t tell me what one thing the GOP stands for. I already know the answer. Zero, zip, and letting the Democrats do what they want

Brock Robamney on February 8, 2014 at 4:19 PM

GOPe stands for raising taxes on job creators and the middle class, cutting pension benefits to disabled veterans, funding ObamaCare, welfare for farmers and ethanol producers, IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, hiding the truth about what happened in Bengazi, bailing out banks, and generally big, abusive, government. So there, now you know what the GOPe stands for.

Franklin100 on February 8, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Oh thank God. I can’t WAIT for the 2014 mid-terms. I am SO looking forward to dumping every Rino and handing that seat over to the Democrats.

Smells like….victory.

WryTrvllr on February 7, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Why not? It’s not like there’s a difference

annoyinglittletwerk on February 8, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Think you don’t like Susan Collins? Shenna Bellows the liberal/progressive Elizabeth Warren of Maine is trying to win Senate 2014, Susan Collins being too square for them.

Fleuries on February 9, 2014 at 7:52 AM

Maybe the establishment just needs a punch in the nose, Mitch.

magicbeans on February 9, 2014 at 8:55 AM

I love how the low information voters think there is actually a difference between the GOP and DNC. Both parties are bought and paid for by the US Chamber of Crony Capitalism

Brock Robamney on February 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

NWConservative on February 8, 2014 at 10:39 AM

I read your comment outlining McConnell’s voting record on amnesty before you reposted it in reply to me, thank you very much. Basically, McConnell has voted with leadership throughout his senate career while Republicans were in power (while Reagan and then Bush were in office) and then he didn’t make any blustery hardline red meat comments about immigration reform.

Surprise, surprise.

Right now, NWConservative — Where are you? Oregon? Washington? — Progressives, and they want to go back to being called liberals now, are turning Virginia blue. They want to turn Texas blue. They have made Colorado purple, and elected leadership from Arkansas.

The best candidate Oregon has right now is some Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman pediatric neurosurgeon who supports amnesty and Obamacare., and you want to wade in on Kentucky?

As has also been pointed out, McConnell has a 100 ACLU score, and Democrats hate him. Yes, he raised $20 million. Grimes has raised $27 million. The pittance Bevin got most likely came from Democrats, not the Senate Conservative Fund, which Jim DeMint has distanced himself from, or the Club For Growing Everything But a Republican Majority or what have you. Clean up the Northwest, and then come back and tell Kentucky how to vote.

ezspirit on February 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM

ACU, not ACLU.

ezspirit on February 9, 2014 at 10:11 AM

ezspirit on February 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM

McConnell operative redefining history…. Sigh….

Brock Robamney on February 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM

McConnell operative redefining history…. Sigh….

Brock Robamney on February 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Typical Democrat. When you’ve got nothing to say, call names.

ezspirit on February 9, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Well isn’t this great news. If McConnell can’t beat a Democrat, in a coal mining state, whose industry is under attack by a Democrat President, how the hell can any political pundit, even suggest the Republicans can possibly win back the Senate, as has been suggested.

kjatexas on February 9, 2014 at 5:50 PM

So if McConnell wins the nomination and goes on to get his ass kicked by the Dem, are the squishes going to take responsibility for costing “us” a Senate seat?

ddrintn on February 9, 2014 at 7:22 PM

ezspirit on February 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM

OH, I forgot that we don’t get a say when we don’t live in the state in question. Well, I guess you better get your buddies John McCain and Russ Feingold on that STAT! Time for a new law! Just like progressives like you like it. You should also probably tell Mr. McConnell that he needs to give back most of his money, since he loves his out of state cash, especially when it is given by taxpayers in the form of all that lovely pork Kentucky gets. Don’t you love that compromising that the “leadership” like him does?

I like organizations that hold elected officials accountable, but apparently, in ezspirit’s world, Senators are above the law and get to be re-elected into perpetuity to rule their little fiefdom’s. Also apparently, Senators are not accountable for their actions if they vote with the “leadership.” That’s their get out of jail free card in the Republican party, like when people say they were “only following orders.”

Lovely that you mentioned that Progressives want to turn Texas blue, who exactly is it that is supporting the very thing that is going to absolutely make it happen? Oh, that’s right. MITCH MCCONNELL. You support a progressive and his buddies at the Chamber of Crony Capitalism. So please, stop trying to lecture me on progressives.

Oh and BTW, I do not live in Oregon and even if I did, any Republican that supports Obamacare and Amnesty is a Democrat.

NWConservative on February 9, 2014 at 9:59 PM

OH, I forgot that we don’t get a say when we don’t live in the state in question.

You can talk trash about the five-term senator from Kentucky with a 100 ACU score who also happens to be the Minority Leader, but as someone from the NW where their states vote blue in presidential elections, I doubt anyone in coal country gives a warm bucket of spit for your opinion. Though it is unlikely, should this seat go to the Democrats, I’m sure you’ll have all kinds of scorn for the next Minority Leader who doesn’t do enough to stand up against the Democrats, whom you seem happy to vote for, and their comrades in media, labor and academia.

Well, I guess you better get your buddies John McCain and Russ Feingold on that STAT!

Mitch McConnell challenged McCain-Feingold in the Supreme Court.

You should also probably tell Mr. McConnell that he needs to give back most of his money, since he loves his out of state cash, especially when it is given by taxpayers in the form of all that lovely pork Kentucky gets.

Kentucky residents pay their federal income taxes just like everybody else. They’re entitled to their share of the federal budget. As for campaign financing, how much can Bevin raise to hold off the well-funded Democrat in the race? We’ll just complain afterward like with Cuccinelli that the GOP establishment didn’t throw enough money at “their” nominee. Oh, and tell tea party patriot Bevin to give back the bailout he collected in CT for a business that had only his relatives on the payroll.

So please, stop trying to lecture me on progressives.

Huh uh, you vote for the carpetbagger who will undoubtedly prove to be on the Democrat payroll like Sarvis, Scozzafava or Akin, or you support the Democrat over the “RINO”, you’re a progressive.

ezspirit on February 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM

The “compromise” question is a loaded question intended to help Democrats. Tea party candidates should answer it just like Ted Cruz does.

http://youtu.be/L1eP676PBoM

bluegill on February 8, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Amen.

-west

mr_west on February 10, 2014 at 11:54 AM

“Whoever told these idiots in the GOP that they needed to become moderates in order to win independents’ votes is also an idiot. …or, if it was a Democrat who told them, a genius”

This would be Karl Rove to Boehner. I too agree with the statement “moderates in order to win independents”, which in my opinion is utter B*** S***.

Which leads me to my point. Why are the GOP even listening to this OLD FOOL (karl)?

Oh, and Bitch McConnell listens to these tools…. Yeah, Mitch is held in High Regards as you can tell. ->to(thebrokenrattle)

ezspirit on February 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM

AND since he is a Leadership Position… He is my BUSINESS. I don’t give a crap what “HE” has done for you.

-west

mr_west on February 10, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Some losses are worth it.

Go away, Squish McConnell: Just go. The ****. Away.

orangemtl on February 10, 2014 at 6:21 PM

You can talk trash about the five-term senator from Kentucky with a 100 ACU score who also happens to be the Minority Leader, but as someone from the NW where their states vote blue in presidential elections, I doubt anyone in coal country gives a warm bucket of spit for your opinion. Though it is unlikely, should this seat go to the Democrats, I’m sure you’ll have all kinds of scorn for the next Minority Leader who doesn’t do enough to stand up against the Democrats, whom you seem happy to vote for, and their comrades in media, labor and academia.

So much crap so little space. You guys just LOVE that 100 ACU score, run by the same guy who loves himself some amnesty and high speed rail. I love the whining about coal country whilst supporting the leadership that got us to the very place that threatens coal country the most. Who was leading the Republicans when the Democrats took over all of Washington? Mitch McConnell in the leadership of the party in the Senate. He was the whip for the Republicans during their glory years from 2003 to 2007 when they turned into full big spending, pork loving, pay to play politicians. Seriously, they might as well have been democrats. Busting the budget, browbeating conservatives who didn’t vote party line, trying to give amnesty OVER AND OVER AGAIN, and passing a NEW FREAKING ENTITLEMENT!

I would be happy if the next Majority Leader didn’t have piss poor “leadership skills.” McConnell was the MAJORITY WHIP for several years and yet now cannot shut up his fellow senators taking pot shots at conservatives on MSLSD and the like. I would be happy if they would instead attack democrats with the same zeal they do now to their own base. Look at what Obama is doing now, you idiot. WHAT have the “leadership” done to challenge his supposed “right” to rewrite law illegally? NOTHING. We get the typical France response of a strongly worded statement.

But, Party Unity. Or else. You sure like to accuse everyone not parroting McConnell talking points of being Democrats, projecting much?

Mitch McConnell challenged McCain-Feingold in the Supreme Court.

If the US Chamber was against it, he would be too. This was in response to your whining about people criticizing the current elected idiot senator losing to a Democrat.

Kentucky residents pay their federal income taxes just like everybody else. They’re entitled to their share of the federal budget. As for campaign financing, how much can Bevin raise to hold off the well-funded Democrat in the race? We’ll just complain afterward like with Cuccinelli that the GOP establishment didn’t throw enough money at “their” nominee. Oh, and tell tea party patriot Bevin to give back the bailout he collected in CT for a business that had only his relatives on the payroll.

Oh, I forgot that Kentucky residents are entitled to my money because their Senator uses his “leadership skillz” to make deals getting all this lovely pork, all the while agreeing with Democrats to doom my children to be debt slaves. Cuccinelli would have won if the national GOP actually threw some money at him and the state GOPe wasn’t backstabbing him at every opportunity. Given the history of people you support, McConnell will: Start a write-in campaign to thwart the will of the base, stab Bevin in the back several times in public, and/or endorse the Democrat. Heck, he may even fund them.

And you finish that incoherent response with a McConnell hitpiece. Are you sure you are not on the payroll, maybe one of those famed “consultants” that everyone rightly hates for being bumbling idiots that gave us the Romney and McCain victories in 2012. If the state of Connecticut wants to pay Bevin for anything, that is their problem, the people there can VOTE their reps out.

McConnell is using US taxpayer’s funds to bring the pork home to his district. I can’t vote him out if I don’t like it. How is THAT comparable to Bevin and Connecticut? We have 16 trillion dollars in debt, but we got to make sure that McConnell can abuse his privilege so that he can bring home my taxes to his state.

Huh uh, you vote for the carpetbagger who will undoubtedly prove to be on the Democrat payroll like Sarvis, Scozzafava or Akin, or you support the Democrat over the “RINO”, you’re a progressive.

ezspirit on February 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM

What are you talking about?? Sarvis was a democrat plant, Akin was an arrogant man who should have dropped out, but pride and Huckabee got in the way. Scozzafava was a standard fare GOP establishment hack that you support. You know, the ones who are just democrats running in republican areas.

NWConservative on February 10, 2014 at 11:21 PM

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