cn|2 Poll: Beshear's lead increases but other races largely unchanged since June

09/01/2011 06:31 PM

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, who has been running ads for most of the summer, leads in the governor’s race by nearly 29 points, according to a snapshot of the race from the cn|2 Poll.

Beshear and running mate Jerry Abramson have widened the margin by eight points from the first general election cn|2 Poll from June.

About 53.5 percent of respondents said they would support the Democratic ticket if the election were held today compared to 25.3 percent for the Republican ticket of David Williams and Richie Farmer. The independent slate of Gatewood Galbraith and Dea Riley increased its support to 7.2 percent from the June cn|2 poll.

And 14 percent said they were undecided.

Braun Research Inc. conducted the cn|2 Poll between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31. Live interviewers from Braun surveyed 803 Kentuckians who voted in the 2007 general election or the 2010 general election or both and who said they were likely to vote in the Nov. 8 election.

The poll has a margin of error of about 3.5 points. You can download the full crosstabs here: August cn2 poll.pdf

And you click to see past cn|2 Poll results

The biggest development in the governor’s race since June has been that Beshear and an outside Democratic group have blanketed the airwaves with ads for much of the summer.

Williams, meanwhile, ran one commercial introducing himself in July, but hasn’t been back on TV since.

The Democratic group, Kentucky Family Values, has been running ads criticizing Williams – the state Senate president – for supporting across the board budget cuts last spring that would have trimmed education funding. And it slams him for purchasing a plasma television for his Senate office on the state’s dime for $17,000 in 2006.

Williams has since moved that TV to the Senate chambers and bought a television for his office with his own money.

Williams told Pure Politics this week that he’s not concerned about the poll numbers because many voters haven’t tuned into the race yet.

Beshear’s campaign issued its standard statement in response to polls, saying the governor “is proud to have the support of so many Kentuckians.”

And Galbraith and Riley, who have not begun their advertising campaign, said other surveys showed their slate doing much better than 7 percentage points. An automated survey taken for Public Policy Polling earlier this week showed Galbraith and Riley with 10 percent of respondents’ support.

Riley said the cn|2 Poll was flawed because it didn’t contact people on cell phones —- only their landlines.

Attorney General’s race

The only other race in which a candidate has been advertising on television has been the attorney general’s race.

Republican challenger Todd P’Pool, the Hopkins County Attorney, just launched his second ad of the campaign on Wednesday and has been on the air for two weeks.

Still, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway heads into the Labor Day weekend with a solid lead:

  • 53.2% Jack Conway, Democrat
  • 26.4% Todd P’Pool, Republican
  • 20.4% Unsure

Conway’s campaign said the results “are indicative of the confidence Kentucky voters have in Attorney General Conway.”

The statement went on to criticize P’Pool for accepting donations from for-profit colleges that Conway is investigating.

“By soliciting campaign donations from companies currently under investigation by the (office), our opponent has sent a message that if elected, he will hang a ‘for sale’ sign on the door of his office,” Conway’s statement said.

But P’Pool’s campaign manger, David Ray, said P’Pool is getting momentum, particularly from the recent endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police.

“We are confident that our message is resonating with voters,” Ray said. “That’s why the state FOP rejected the sitting Attorney General and chose to endorse Todd P’Pool this week and other public polls show us substantially narrowing the gap in this race.”

Conway’s more than 26-point lead is similar to the advantage the June cn|2 Poll showed that he had. The Public Policy Polling survey from this week showed Conway up by 11 points over P’Pool.

State Auditor’s race

Both candidates for the open position of state auditor have been campaigning across the state. But neither has gone up on the air with ads yet.

So the race remains largely unchanged since the cn|2 Poll’s snapshot in June, when Democratic Adam Edelen was ahead of Republican John Kemper by 3 points – within the margin of error.

The Aug. 29-31 cn|2 Poll showed:

  • 31.5% Adam Edelen, Democrat
  • 28.6% John Kemper, Republican
  • 39.9% Unsure

Edelen is the former chief of staff to Gov. Steve Behsear. And Edelen said he expects the race to be close at this point because he didn’t have a primary race and hasn’t gotten to introduce himself to the masses on TV and radio airwaves yet.

Kemper, a Lexington developer, said he is “tickled to death at this point.”

“We are just gripping and grinning and meeting people on the campaign trail,” Kemper said, adding he hopes Edelen “keeps spending some of that pile of money he has.”

At the end of the May primary season, Edelen had collected more than $430,000 while Kemper had roughly $20,000, according to the most recent fundraising reports.
Secretary of State’s race*

Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Lexington lawyer, and Republican Bill Johnson, a Todd County businessman, also have been focused on retail campaigning so far and haven’t begun the advertising phase of the race.

This week’s cn|2 Poll showed:

  • 36.8% Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democrat
  • 27.9% Bill Johnson, Republican
  • 35.3% Unsure

The nine point advantage for Grimes is down slightly from the 11-point advantage she had in the June cn|2 Poll as both she and Johnson came off hard-fought primary campaign wins.

“People know at the end of the day when they go into that voting booth who is going to move this office of Secretary of State of Kentucky forward – who has a plan to move this office forward – and that’s what our Grimes goals are all about,” Grimes told Pure Politics.

Johnson said after asking for votes across the state that he believes “we are in a competitive race with my opponent. Regardless of the result, all the polls show me moving in the right direction.”

The Public Policy Polling survey showed Grimes with a three-point lead.

Commissioner of Agriculture race

Advertising also hasn’t started in the commissioner of agriculture race.

The results of the latest cn|2 Poll are similar to the June cn|2 Poll in which Farmer had a 14-point lead.

The latest poll showed:

  • 45.3% Bob Farmer, Democrat
  • 25.7% James Comer, Republican
  • 29.1% Unsure

Farmer is a marketing consultant and part time comedian and Comer is farmer and state representative.

When asked whether Farmer was pleased at the lead, he said the polls so far have been “inconsistent” and probably didn’t mean much in a race in which the candidates haven’t advertised yet.

Comer disputed the cn|2 Poll numbers, pointing to other polls that showed different results.

Specifically, the Public Policy Polling survey this week showed Comer leading Farmer by one point.

Treasurer’s race

Democratic state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach still leads Republican K.C. Crosbie and libertarian candidate Ken Moellman in the latest cn|2 Poll.

  • 42.7% Todd Hollenbach, Democrat
  • 21.1% K.C. Crosbie, Republican
  • 5.1% Ken Moellman, libertarian
  • 31.1% Unsure

Hollenbach said he’s working hard because “there’s only two ways to run a race – unopposed or scared. And I’m not unopposed.”

“Obviously, we’re very pleased with the results. And we believe it reflects the confidence the Kentucky voters have in the job Todd’s doing as treasurer,” said Hollenbach’s campaign manager Mark Pfeiffer.

Crosbie, a Lexington councilwoman, said the poll results are encouraging because they show Hollenbach to be vulnerable.

“Todd Hollenbach has run two statewide campaigns and 60 percent of those polled weren’t in favor of him,” she said. “We haven’t started our media campaign yet and I find these numbers very encouraging.”

Moellman fared better in the Public Policy Polling survey taken earlier this week in which he received 16 percent of respondents’ support.

-_ Candidate responses compiled by Kenny Colston, Don Weber, Lanny Brannock and Ryan Alessi_


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