Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Roundup: McConnell's side nears 2-1 edge in TV outlay as poll shows him leading by 4 pts.; Patterson gets 7%

The biggest wire service takes a look at the race, and there's a new poll . . .
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell has been using President Obama's obvious unpopularity in Kentucky to his advantage, and he and his allies outspent Grimes on television "by a nearly 2-1 margin," reports David Espo of The Associated Press in an overview of the race. He datelined it Harlan, one of the stops on McConnell's coal tour last week, in which the senator sought "the support of coal miners and their neighbors in Eastern Kentucky, a region he split with his Democratic challenger in most recent race in 2008. That year, Obama got only 41 percent of the vote statewide, a number that dropped to 38 percent in 2012," Espo notes. "McConnell rarely mentions Grimes by name, preferring instead to campaign against Obama and 'those people,' an undefined group he says "are not the kind of people we have here in Kentucky."
  • Alison Lundergan Grimes released a new web ad today that emphasizes her focus on jobs. The ad includes footage from her rallies last week with President Bill Clinton in Hazard and Lexington and shows the enthusiasm of crowds and their embrace of the issue, especially in Eastern Kentucky. Clinton picks up the cudgel that McConnell gave Grimes: "One candidate says it’s ‘not my job’ to create jobs. The other candidate, from the get-go of her campaign, put out a Kentucky Jobs Action Plan. And it’s good, I’ve read it."
  • Libertarian David Patterson's filing for the Nov. 4 ballot could hurt McConnell by attracting Republicans who voted for Matt Bevin in the May primary, Michael Patrick Leahy writes for Breitbart.com, a popular, conservative website: "It's conceivable that Grimes could ride pro-Bevin defectors to Patterson to victory. . . . But for the Libertarian candidate to receive 75,000 to 125,000 votes from Tea Party supporters will require more than a mere endorsement from the UKTP," the United Kentucky Tea Party, an informal coalition that backed Bevin in May. "Such a result will require a boots-on-the-ground door-knocking effort, and despite the lingering hostility among Kentucky Tea Party members towards McConnell, that level of organization has not yet been reached." Polls indicate that Patterson takes votes about equally from McConnell and Grimes.
  • McConnell leads Grimes 44 percent to 40 percent among self-described likely voters, with 9 percent undecided and 7 percent for Patterson, in an automated telephone poll taken Aug. 7-10 by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina firm that usually works for Democrats but averages only a slight Democratic lean in its results. The poll showed Grimes's name recognition at an all-time high, but skewing negative, with her job approval at 41 percent and disapproval at 45 percent. That may reflect McConnell's edge in TV advertising, which has attacked Grimes and linked her with Obama, whose job rating in the poll was 32 percent approve, 63 percent disapprove. However, the race remains up for grabs because McConnell's job rating is 37 percent approve and 54 percent disapprove; 11 percent of women, a key group for Grimes, are undecided; and the poll's error margin was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. For the PPP release, click here; for the poll results, go here.

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