Internal poll shows Grimes ahead by two

10/01/2014 12:59 PM

Despite trailing Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the most recent public polling, Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ internal pollster says she holds a slim lead on the incumbent.

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman released a memo Wednesday showing Grimes with a 42-40 advantage on McConnell about a month from Election Day. Politico first reported the results of Mellman’s survey of 1,800 likely voters from Sept. 19 to Monday.

Mellman, in a memo posted to Politico’s website, said the sample of likely voters is the largest of any public polling conducted for the McConnell-Grimes race, giving it a relatively low 2.3 percent margin of error.

“Grimes’ lead is based on the significant image advantage she enjoys over the unpopular Republican Leader,” Mellman wrote in the memo to Grimes’ campaign. “McConnell receives overwhelmingly negative evaluations for his performance in office (37% positive, 58% negative), while Grimes’ performance is viewed positively by a narrow margin (40% positive, 39% negative) remaining above water even after facing $40 million in spending from the other side.”

Unlike a previous poll conducted by The Mellman Group showing Grimes up by a single point, this survey includes Libertarian candidate David Patterson, who received 3 percent support.

Mellman said Grimes also holds a clear advantage on a number of issues key to her campaign, such as job creation and Medicare.

“Beneath the surface, Grimes has significant advantages on personal attributes that drive voters’ Election Day decisions,” Mellman wrote in his memo. “Significantly larger percentages believe the phrases “will work to create good jobs” (net +25 percentage points describes Grimes) “protects Social Security and Medicare” (net +24 percentage points describes Grimes), “cares about people like you” (net +20 percentage points describes Grimes), and “shares your values” (net +10 percentage points describes Grimes) describe Grimes better than McConnell.”

McConnell, meanwhile, holds a 5-point lead in an average of public polls calculated by Real Clear Politics.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


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