Ben Chandler's poll has him leading Andy Barr by 24; Barr down by 7 in his poll

05/01/2012 03:53 PM

Dueling internal candidate polls show Democrat Ben Chandler leading Republican Andy Barr as the 6th Congressional District race, but beyond that the two surveys reach different conclusions about how far Chandler is ahead and how Democratic the new district is.

The re-election campaign for Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler is touting a poll from March showing that a rematch against Republican Andy Barr wouldn’t be nearly as close as the 2010 race.

A survey of 400 likely voters in the 6th Congressional District taken between March 26 and 28, had Chandler at 54 percent compared to 30 percent for Barr, a Lexington lawyer. Barr lost to Chandler by 648 votes two years ago.

The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 points, according to the memo. The Chandler campaign received that memo from its polling firm, the Mellman Group, on April 30.

Meanwhile, Barr’s campaign released an April 29 polling memo showing Chandler up by seven points but below the crucial 50 percent mark. The survey of 400 likely voters was taken Feb. 20-21 by Public Opinion Strategies. Like Chandler’s poll, it has a margin of error of 4.9 points.

In that survey, Chandler leads 49 percent to Barr’s 42 percent. And each candidate received the same percentage of respondents who would “definitely support” them in the fall, according to the memo.

In Chandler’s poll, one of the four-term incumbent’s major advantages is name recognition.

“Chandler’s hard name ID is 86%, giving him a much higher profile than Barr (50% hard name ID),” the memo said.

The survey also shows that the new 6th District, which shed several Republican areas and gained Democratic counties in northeastern Kentucky, is leaning toward President Barack Obama in the presidential race. About 47 percent of respondents picked Obama compared to 42 percent for Romney and 11 percent undecided. However the poll was conducted before Rick Santorum ended his bid for the GOP nomination, effectively paving the way for Romney to be the nominee.

Barr’s poll, also conducted before Romney locked up nominee-in-waiting status, showed that the new 6th District doesn’t favor Obama.

“President Obama is going to have a difficult time matching the 45 percent ballot support he received in the new district in 2008. The president’s current job approval waiting is just 39 percent in the new district , and more voters strongly disapprove of the job he’s doing (45 percent) than approve,” the memo for Barr says.


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