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Despite being in a Republican fixture in Washington, Sen. Mitch McConnell is in a fierce uphill fight against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
A new Bluegrass Poll – conducted for WKYT-TV, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Louisville Courier-Journal, and WHAS-TV – found Grimes leading McConnell among registered Kentucky voters. Results show Grimes would win 46 percent of the vote compared to 42 percent for McConnell if the two face off against each other in the November general election.
The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA. Among other things, the poll found McConnell's popularity in Kentucky is lower than President Obama's, suggesting, as noted in the Lexington Herald-Leader, that the race at this time is influenced more by disapproval of McConnell than support for Grimes, who is viewed "neutrally" or with "no opinion" by nearly half of those polled.
Continuing debates over government shutdowns and health care initiatives could also be taking a toll on Kentucky’s senior senator’s standing. Exactly half of those polled say they have an unfavorable opinion of the senator while 27 percent said they have a favorable opinion. The remaining quarter of respondents say they’re neutral or have no opinion.
WKYT political director Bill Bryant points out that Grimes is attracting self-described moderates as well as liberals, and he believes Kentucky moderates may well decide the election. McConnell, as you would expect, is pulling in conservatives, and is handily beating (55-29) nutcase Matthew Bevin who has run an anti-McConnell campaign premised on his purported "cooperation" with Senate Democrats. Grimes leads them both in the poll of registered voters.
“Mitch McConnell continues to be very unpopular, across the board, across different demographic groups. His numbers are bad,” said The Herald-Leader political writer Sam Youngman. “The other thing that surprised me is that Alison Lundergan Grimes is an unknown right now. It's going to be a race to define who she is in the minds if Kentucky voters between her and Sen. McConnell. I think the winner of that race is the winner in November.”