The Chatter: Nation debates McConnell's job security -- and the polling about it

01/29/2013 05:29 PM

While political groups on both the left and the right are trying to find a 2014 challenger to Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, pundits are saying a batch of poll numbers should make McConnell nervous about Kentucky voters.

This week, a Courier-Journal poll showed more than a third of Kentuckians want to vote for someone else in 2014 and only 17 percent would vote for McConnell no matter who ran against him.

Tuesday morning Joe Scarborough, the former Republican Congressman and host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, called the poll numberspolitically “deadly” for McConnell.

While McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, said the poll was a cheap way to get headlines, Scarborough said the Republican leader should still be worried.

Benton told Pure Politics no incumbent could possibly fare well with the way the Courier-Journal asked the question.

The newspaper’s poll asked respondents if the election were today whether they’d definitely vote for Senator McConnell or would vote for someone else.

Benton released to Pure Politics internal data from an undated poll showing the results of a job approval rating question:

Do you strongly (approve / disapprove) or somewhat (approve / disapprove)?

51 – 40
1 Approve / Strongly 18
2 Approve / Somewhat 33
3 Disapprove / Somewhat 11
4 Disapprove / Strongly 29
5 Don’t know (DNR) 9
6 Refused (DNR) *

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post analyzed the approach taken in the Courier-Journal’s poll, which was conducted by SurveyUSA.

The article reviewed previous SurveyUSA polls that measured core support for incumbents by asking poll respondents whether they would vote for the person “no matter who runs against him.” In past races — including a re-election run for Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth — the early results from that type of a poll question haven’t been effective predictors of the outcome of the races. Here’s what the Huffington Post found:


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.