Top three all tied up in Republican primary for governor

05/12/2015 09:49 PM

Just seven days from the May 19 primary, state Republicans are split in their support among gubernatorial contenders.

Merely 3 percentage points separates the top candidate from third place in the race, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll conducted by SurveyUSA for the Lexington Herald-Leader, Louisville Courier Journal, WKYT-TV and WHAS-TV.

Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin leads the field with 27 percent, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has 26 percent and former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner has 25 percent in the poll. Former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott is polling at 8 percent.

The poll, conducted from May 5-10 of 517 Republicans, has a margin of error of 4.4 percent, placing the top three within the margin of error.

In an emailed statement Bevin responded to the poll claiming the lead, saying the poll “is in line with our internal polling and a reflection of what Jenean and I hear everyday on the campaign trail.”

“Voters are hungry for proven leaders with the life experience and vision to lead Kentucky forward, and we are confident that they will choose the Bevin-Hampton ticket on May 19,” Bevin said.

The polling matches the closeness seen in another recent poll released last week by Public Policy Polling showing three points separating the top three candidates.

The biggest takeaway for candidates is likely how much turnout will play a critical factor in who wins the election. Geography is also playing a key role in the race with candidates carving up Kentucky’s hills and hollers.

Comer has spent much of his time campaigning in western Kentucky where WHAS-TV says he holds an 15 point advantage.

Heiner, who lives in Louisville, but has been aggressive in his statewide media presence has a six point lead in Louisville.

Bevin owns the northern portion of the state with a 17-point favor in the state’s tea party stronghold. However, turnout there has been sparse in past primaries.

According to WHAS-TV, Heiner and Comer split the lead in eastern Kentucky.

The Courier-Journal reports that while the Republican race could fall to any of the top-three in the GOP Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway is polling better than all of the Republican field.

Among the Republicans Comer trails by the slimmest margin, 6 points, in the hypothetical matchup. From The Courier-Journal:

The other candidates all trail Conway by double-digit margins: Heiner lags by 12 percentage points, Bevin by 11, while Scott is 16 points back. That portion of the poll tested the opinions of 1,677 likely voters in the general election and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or



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