Mason-Dixon is out with the first poll anyone has released of this November’s general election for governor of Kentucky, and it shows Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear leading all his potential opponents in this dark red state. The survey, which was done for several state media organizations, also finds Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, with an early lead ahead of the May GOP primary.
We’ll start with how Beshear fares against Cameron and three other potential Republican foes among registered voters:
49-40 vs. Attorney General Daniel Cameron
52-35 vs. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles
53-33 vs. Auditor Mike Harmon
57-32 vs. former Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft
The survey did not include general election matchups testing two other notable GOP contenders: Somerset Mayor Alan Keck or suspended attorney Eric Deters.
Democrats need just about everything to go right to win statewide in Kentucky, but Mason-Dixon finds that Beshear starts out the campaign with strong numbers: The governor posts a 61-29 approval rating, while respondents say they view him favorably by a similar 52-23 margin. Cameon, in contrast, has a 30-18 favorable image, while few people have much of an opinion about any of the other Republicans.
We always caution that you should never let one poll determine your outlook of a race, and that’s especially true when it’s a survey taken nearly a year before Election Day. Indeed, Mason-Dixon back in December 2018 showed Beshear, who was attorney general at the time, posting a 48-40 advantage over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin among registered voters, which is almost identical to how it shows him doing against Cameron now. By October 2019, though, the firm, which had by now switched to surveying likely voters, had the race deadlocked 46-46: Beshear ended up unseating Bevin by a tight 49.2-48.8.
Mason-Dixon also gives us an early look at GOP nomination fight and has Cameron beating Craft 39-13 as Quarles takes third with 8%. The only other primary poll we’ve seen this year was a Cameron internal from Meeting Street that gave him an identical 39% as Craft and Quarles took 8% each. Craft, for her part, has spent $1.1 million on ads while none of her opponents have taken to the airwaves yet, but if she has polls showing that early offensive boosting her image, she has yet to release them.