Public Policy Polling releases poll with large lead for Beshear, closer down ballot races

08/30/2011 03:28 PM

North Carolina polling firm Public Policy Polling is ready to call Kentucky’s governor’s race today, based on a poll they released with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear up 27 points.

The poll, taken Aug. 25 to the 28, surveyed 600 voters and has a margin of error of 4 points. PPP is considered a Democratic polling firm and uses automated telephone interviews.

In the poll, Beshear leads Republican David Williams 55-to-28, with independent Gatewood Galbraith polling at 10 percent. The margin continues a slide in polling for Williams, who was down 21 points in a Pure Politics poll after the primary and 24 points down in a SurveyUSA poll taken the week of Fancy Farm.

PPP also says Beshear is the fourth most popular governor in the nation, with a 57 percent approval rating.

But the most interesting poll numbers are the down ballot ones, where many races are suddenly tightening up.

  • Auditor’s race: Democrat Adam Edelen leads Republican John Kemper 34-to-31 with 35 percent undecided.
  • Secretary of State: Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes leads Republican Bill Johnson 38-to-35 with 27 percent undecided.
  • Ag Commissioner: Republican James Comer up 37-to-36 over Democrat Bob Farmer, with 27 percent undecided.
  • Attorney General: Democrat Jack Conway over Republican Todd P’Pool, 47-to-36.
  • Treasurer: Democrat Todd Hollenbach up 43-to-28 over Republican K.C. Crosbie. Libertarian Ken Moellman is at 16 percent.

The full results of the poll can be seen here


  • Bruce Layne wrote on August 31, 2011 10:53 AM :

    Keep in mind that PPP is considered a Democratic leaning poll, and this was a poll of likely voters and not registered voters.

    David Williams is 27 points behind Steve Beshear. It’s a foregone conclusion that Beshear will win by a landslide. It’s rare to have such skewed results in an election. The Republicans nominated someone who was absolutely unelectable. This race could have been very different if the GOP machine nominated someone good, but they didn’t.

    Many of the down ticket races are very competitive. Most significant are the virtual ties between John Kemper and Adam Edelen (Kemper down three points) and James Comer and Bob Farmer (Comer up by one point). Kemper and Comer both enjoy good TEA Party support. Kemper is running a shoestring budget campaign with a lot of heart and a lot of leg work. Comer has managed to win over the GOP establishment as well as the TEA Party support, which is rare, and that’s why his race is much better funded. Comer’s lead will widen the more voters learn that Bob Farmer is running for Ag Commissioner and has never been a farmer (other than his name), and is in fact a Louisville resident with a career in marketing. Farmer also hurt himself among his Democratic base by making fun of inbred and uneducated residents of eastern Kentucky, which is a Democratic stronghold. It was so inappropriate that most Kentuckians were put off by the demeaning stereotypes. If Comer wanted to go negative, he could simply air ads consisting of Farmer’s stand-up comedy.

    Voters still don’t like Jack Conway after his Aqua Buddha flame out in last year’s US Senate race, but they apparently like Todd P’Pool even less, despite strong establishment GOP support, or perhaps because of it.

    KC Crosbie and Todd P’Pool do not have the TEA Party support and are probably not competitive in their races. It really does seem that the establishment GOP support can raise money which is very helpful, but is otherwise not much use in terms of votes. In fact, it seems that the GOP money is useful in running ads that generate name recognition, but there is either a stigma associated with the GOP support, or the types of candidates who receive establishment GOP support are not very attractive to voters. Either way, the establishment GOP support, money and all, is not much of an advantage. TEA Party support does seem to translate well into better poll numbers, and as we’ve seen in the 2010 elections and the 2011 primary, TEA Party support translates into votes.

    Ken Moellman is polling at 16% running on the Libertarian Party ticket in the state treasurer’s race. This is a very strong showing, given the historic bias against third party candidates among the Kentucky electorate and the pollsters. Ken enjoys strong TEA Party and liberty support. I think this is a sign that voters are fed up with the Two Parties That Are One.®

    There’s another interesting theory presented in the comments under the poll. “The libertarian guy is getting 16% because people thought his name was Hans Moleman.” I had to do an internet search for Hans Moleman. He’s a minor and somewhat pathetic character on The Simpsons.

    Gatewood didn’t fair very well in the PPP poll, getting only 10%, and surprisingly, garnering only 14% of the independent vote. That doesn’t sound right to me.

    There’s still time for some of these candidates to turn this around. I expect Gatewood to kick in the afterburners in the next two months as people pay more attention to this race and like what he has to say… and dislike the other two candidates. I expect Williams to kick in the afterburners too, as voters pay more attention. Unfortunately for Williams, kicking in the afterburners is a bad thing when you see the ground coming up to meet you. There’s going to be a big smoking GOP crater in the 2011 governor’s race.

    Is it too late for the GOP to ask for a Moffett do-over?

  • GW wrote on September 01, 2011 01:18 PM :

    Steve Beshear does not have the best interest of average Kentuckians at heart. No one running for Governor should ever support 36% payday loan companies which prey on the uneducated and weakest among us. No one running for Governor should not support the Clean Water Act which prohibits mercury, sylenium, aluminium and other cancer causing items to be released into Kentuckys waterways to create havoc on Eastern Kentucky residents. I am a Democrat, but i will not support Beshear. I do not support David Williams because he is no better than Beshear, probably worse, but this year Kentuckians have a choice and I will be taking that choice. I am voting proudly for Gatewood Gailbraith who is for the people, not the corporations of Kentucky. Its time for a change. Big Kentucky has enough people supporting it, its time average Kentuckians have someone on thier side. Gatewood 2011 for Governor!

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