U.S. Senate campaigns touting drastically different September poll results

09/10/2014 01:46 PM

The Kentucky U.S. Senate race is still neck-and-neck but one candidate is leaving the other in the dust, according to which campaign you ask, with less than two months from election day.

The campaign of Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes held a press conference call with campaign manager Jonathan Hurst and pollster Mark Mellman to discuss an internal poll that showed Grimes up by one percent on Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and pulling higher job approval numbers than the five term senator.

Mellman told press on the call that the poll, conducted Sept. 4-7, showed that Grimes leads McConnell 43 percent to 42 percent with 15 percent still undecided. The poll did not ask voters about Libertarian candidate David Patterson.

On the other hand, a Magellan Strategies poll conducted during the same Sept. 4-7 time frame shows McConnell with an 8 point lead over Grimes. When asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, 50 percent of the voters polled said they would vote for McConnell and 42 percent said they would support Grimes, while six percent said they would vote for Patterson and two percent were undecided.

Those results were part of the poll of 742 Kentucky voters with a 3.6 percent margin of error which focused on the regulations coming from the Environmental Protection Agency on the carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, the poll was commissioned by the National Mining Association.

On that issue, 54 percent of those polled said they believe McConnell better represents and supports coal miners while 39 percent said they think Grimes is a bigger supporter of the industry and seven percent were undecided.

In terms of the demographics used for the poll, 56 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 40 percent Republicans and four percent Independent while the percentages of men and women polled was fairly even.

The Grimes campaign and the pollster said the survey of 800 likely voters with a 3.5 percent margin of error is a huge sign that the race is still neck-and-neck. Mellman told press in the call Wednesday that Grimes’ job approval rating for her work as secretary of state is six percent higher than that of McConnell as a U.S. senator. Mellman added that the Democratic candidate has a strong image advantage in the race.

Both polls say they used a “random sample from Kentucky voter file” but they each got very different results. Mellman told members of the media his firm is very confident in the way their selections are made and said their results are accurate where other firms are not.

Other recent polling in the race has McConnell ahead of Grimes by as many as eight points and surveys conducted by NBC and CNN having the senator reaching 50 percent of the vote.

Likely referencing the resignation of McConnell’s campaign manager , the Grimes campaign said multiple times in the call that the new poll was done more recently than some of the other polls which were conducted before the resignation.

At the end of the call about the internal poll, the first of its kind for the Grimes campaign during the election cycle, campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said they are confident moving forward and would continue to do more calls of this nature leading up to the election.


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