cn|2 Poll: Beshear-Abramson ticket starts with leads over Williams-Farmer and Moffett-Harmon

09/02/2010 05:15 PM

Gov. Steve Beshear and his running mate Jerry Abramson would have less than a 7-point advantage over the newly-announced Republican ticket of David Williams and Richie Farmer in next year’s governor’s race, the new cn|2 Poll shows.

But the governor failed to crack the key 50% threshold in any question regarding next year’s election. In fact, 43.9% of 802 likely voters surveyed said they believe now that Beshear deserves a second term while 35.6% said he doesn’t. Another 20.5% were undecided.

When asked to choose between tickets, 44.0% of respondents said they’d vote for Beshear and Abramson — the Louisville mayor — while 37.7% picked

The Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2010, cn|2 Poll shows Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Jerry Abramson leading the Republican ticket of Senate President David Williams and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

the GOP ticket of Williams, the Senate president, and Farmer, the two-term commissioner of agriculture and former University of Kentucky basketball player. Williams and Farmer officially announced their ticket on Wednesday.

The cn|2 Poll also tested Beshear and Abramson against the other announced Republican ticket of Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman, and his running mate,  state Rep. Mike Harmon of Junction City. About 48.6% picked Beshear and Abramson  and 29.4% said they prefer Moffett and Harmon, while a total of 22% said they were undecided or liked a different ticket.

The cn|2 Poll was conducted between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 by interviewers from Braun Research Inc. of Princeton, N.J. It surveyed 802 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3.46 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed results and cross-tabs of the cn|2 Poll statewide results on questions related to the 2011 governor’s race.

Republicans said the results indicate that Beshear is vulnerable.

“I think the polling shows that the governor is not particularly strong,” said state Sen. Damon Thayer, a Georgetown Republican and supporter of Williams. “The Williams-Farmer ticket will be very strong and this will be a very competitive race.”

Thayer said a 7-point deficit more than a year before the November 2011 election is a strong starting point for that slate. But he said he has seen Republican polling that shows the race even closer.

Williams released to cn|2 Politics polling he personally paid for in July that showed a Williams-Farmer ticket just one point behind Beshear-Farmer.

“We feel good about where we are, and our own polling shows us ahead of Steve Beshear before we’ve even had the chance to really explore with voters his failures when it comes to spending, job creation, education and generally moving Kentucky forward,” said Scott Jennings, the ticket’s campaign manager. Jennings provided a link to the ticket’s internal polling that shows the Williams-Farmer ticket leading Beshear and Abramson by four points.

The Aug. 30- Sept. 1, 2010 poll showed Democrats Gov. Steve Beshear and Jerry Abramson would lead Republican ticket Phil Moffett and Mike Harmon.

David Adams, campaign manager for Moffett and Harmon’s ticket, said in a statement that the cn|2 Poll results are “great news” for the other GOP ticket. He said the lesser known Moffett-Harmon ticket is only eight points behind Williams, whom he called “the biggest professional politician in Frankfort.”

Adams said Moffett and Harmon will benefit from continued energy from the tea party movement.

“The members of the GOP establishment who have been afraid to go against Williams will turn hard for Phil the more they learn about the difference between what Williams said in his videos now and what he has done in office all these years,” Adams said.

Among respondents to the cn|2 Poll who considered themselves “very conservative,” the Williams-Farmer ticket received 62.1% of support compared to Beshear-Abramson’s 20.5%. The Moffett-Harmon ticket garnered 49.2% of those describing themselves as “very conservative” compared to Beshear-Abramson’s 20.5%

Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon said in an interview that he believed Williams would have a difficult time emerging from a Republican primary against Moffett.

“David Williams is going to have a hard time convincing Republicans that he’s a fiscal conservative given his record in the Senate,” Logsdon said, citing Williams’ propensity for securing state funding for roads and projects for his southern Kentucky district. “He’s not going to be able to gloss over the millions of dollars for projects that he’s gotten for a few counties.”

UPDATED 5:41 p.m.: Jennings responded to Logsdon’s assessment saying, “I seriously doubt any Republican voter will be consulting Steve Beshear’s grinder monkey for credible information regarding government spending or about any Republican candidate for governor.”

Logsdon said it is a tough environment for any incumbent but that he’s confident Beshear will fend off either GOP ticket in next fall’s election.

Beshear has so far dodged questions about next year’s race.

His campaign spokesman, Matt Osborne, responded to questions about the poll results with a statement saying “it is far too early to start talking about the 2011 campaign.”

“Right now, both Gov. Beshear and Mayor Abramson are focused on helping Kentuckians survive the current economic climate, creating and maintaining jobs across the commonwealth and protecting vital services like education and public protection.”

- Ryan Alessi

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