Friday, May 30, 2014

Roundup: R-leaning pollster shows McConnell ahead, perhaps solidifying base; useful data on coal views

Most news broke late today:
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell led Alison Lundergan Grimes 48 percent to 41 percent in a poll taken by Pulse Opinion Research for Rasmussen Reports Wednesday and Thursday, May 28-29. Seven percent were undecided and 5 percent chose another candidate. The results are within the stated margin of error, plus or minus 4 percentage points for each number, but the sample size of 750 should have an error margin of plus or minus 3.58 points, according to the standard calculation. The difference may stem from the fact that part of the sample was "randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel" who responded to an online survey. Rasmussen's presidential polls in 2012 leaned Republican by 3.7 points.The latest questionnaire began with the job rating for President Obama, which could have skewed the results of succeeding questions in a Republican direction because he is so unpopular in Kentucky: 60 percent in the poll disapproved of his work, while 38 percent approved. That was exactly the margin by which he lost Kentucky in 2012.
  • Rasmussen said in its poll report, "McConnell now has the backing of 76 percent of Kentucky Republicans and 27 percent of the state’s Democrats; 67 percent of Democrats and 18 percent of GOP voters favor Grimes. Voters not affiliated with either major political party prefer the Democrat by three points." Grimes has gotten more Republican support in earlier polls, so this survey could indicate that McConnell is solidifying his base after a divisive primary.
  • The poll provided useful background on voters' attitudes about coal, which appears likely to be next week's big issue in the race because Obama is planning to announce new rules for coal-fired power plants. Asked if the Obama administration is trying to "outlaw the coal industry," which it is not, 48 percent said it is, 28 percent said it is not and 24 percent were unsure. Among those who said yes, 74 percent favor McConnell; among those who said no, 82 percent favor Grimes. For the poll report, click here.
  • In their monthly update of the seven races they think will decide control of the Senate,  and  of U.S. News and World Report opine that Grimes won the month because she "delivered the standout speech" on primary night, and that she "is proving herself to be a more formidable challenge then the Senate minority leader might have expected."

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