McConnell leads Grimes by 5 in latest Bluegrass Poll

10/31/2014 09:46 AM

Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has widened his lead on Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes five days from Election Day, according to the results of the latest Bluegrass Poll released late Thursday.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal, The Lexington Herald-Leader, WHAS-TV and WKYT-TV with a 4.1 percent margin of error, shows McConnell grabbing 48 percent support from 597 likely voters surveyed this week compared to 43 percent backing Grimes. Libertarian candidate David Patterson pulled 3 percent support and 6 percent of respondents remain undecided.

The poll results push McConnell’s lead in Real Clear Politics’ aggregate of public surveys to 5.5 points.

Both campaigns took different views of the Bluegrass Poll, with McConnell’s camp saying the results show an expansion of the Senate Republican leader’s lead in public polls.

“Across Kentucky the enthusiasm is growing behind Mitch McConnell’s charge to have Kentucky lead America in a different direction from the Obama agenda,” McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement. “For too long the Obama Administration has treated Kentucky families as an afterthought as they wage war on our way of life, but Kentuckians will ensure that it comes to an end next Tuesday with Mitch McConnell leading a new U.S. Senate.”

Grimes’ campaign, meanwhile, said the election Tuesday “will be a toss-up until the end” and touted their voter-turnout efforts as they seek to deny McConnell a sixth term.

“They will go to the polls knowing that Alison is the only candidate who is willing to put partisanship aside and put the people of Kentucky first,” Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said in a statement. “This race will ultimately be decided by enthusiasm down the stretch and whoever best turns out their voters, and while Mitch McConnell and his billionaire friends have invested over $50 million attacking Alison, we have built the largest, most aggressive ground game in Kentucky history.”

The Bluegrass Poll shows McConnell has a greater hold among his party’s registered voters, with 86 percent of Republican respondents backing McConnell compared to 71 percent of Democratic respondents supporting Grimes. Twenty-three percent of Democrats plan to vote for McConnell versus 8 percent of Republicans who say they’ll vote for Grimes, according to the poll. Among independents, Grimes has 37 percent support compared to 35 percent for McConnell, the results show.

McConnell also holds leads in both male and female demographics, drawing 48 percent support among men compared to 43 percent for Grimes and 47 percent among women compared to 43 percent for the Democrat.

The tens of millions in negative advertising Hurst alluded to appears to have resonated with voters, as Grimes’ favorability numbers nearly mirror McConnell’s. Among 704 respondents, 37 percent hold a favorable view of Grimes while 43 percent see her unfavorably. For McConnell, 37 percent view him favorably compared to 44 percent unfavorably.

The poll also asked respondents about two issues that have come up in the campaign’s waning days: Grimes’ refusal to say whether she voted for President Barack Obama and McConnell’s refusal to say whether he believes in climate change caused by human activity.

Fifty-three percent of respondents say McConnell should answer whether he believes in climate change versus 6 percent who say he shouldn’t and 41 percent don’t care. Thirty-nine percent say Grimes should own up to her votes in 2008 and 2012 versus 21 percent who say she shouldn’t and 41 percent who don’t care.

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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