Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Poll for CNN shows McConnell leading 50-46%; he tells contributors the race is like 'a knife fight'

Roundup for Wednesday, Sept. 2:
  • A telephone poll taken for CNN Thursday, Aug. 28 through Monday, Sept. 1 shows Sen. Mitch McConnell had 50 percent of the self-described likely voters and Alison Lundergan Grimes had 46 percent. The poll did not include Libertarian James Patterson. Its error margin, which applies to each number, is plus or minus 4 percentage points, but the poll continues a favorable trend for McConnell. He had his highest percentage yet, and a lead that matches the one in last week's Bluegrass Poll. Also like the Bluegrass Poll, this one showed him with big leads in Eastern and Western Kentucky, where President Obama's anti-coal policies are a burden for Grimes. The poll showed Obama's statewide job rating at 29 percent approval and 64 percent disapproval. One small bright spot for Grimes was that she had a marginal lead among women, 52 to 45 percent (plus or minus 5.5 points), after posting only a 1-point edge among them in some recent surveys. Only 19 percent of voters in the poll said they might change their mind. White women were among the most likely to do so, at 23 percent. The poll showed the race at McConnell ahead only 47-46 among registered voters (plus of minus 3.5 points), suggesting that Grimes, as expected will have more trouble getting her voters to the polls. The likely-voters figure is also suspect, because 75 percent of the registered voters surveyed said they were likely to vote and turnout is expected to be below 50 percent. For the detailed results, click here.
  • McConnell told about 50 supporters at a fundraiser in Corbin Tuesday evening that the race is a "slugfest" and like a "knife fight," Trent Knuckles reports for the Corbin/Whitley News Journal. "I think we are going to be able to put this in the win column, but it's a very, very costly undertaking," McConnell said, adding that he "expects to raise about $30 million in campaign funds before voters go to the polls in November," Knuckles writes. "He estimates Grimes will have around $20 million. Pundits have said that it could be the first Senate race in the history of the nation to top $100 million in spending once cash from outside groups is factored in. McConnell said it dawned on him recently how big of a deal the race is in Kentucky when, during a recent campaign swing through the state, he had reporters from Australia and Japan following him around." McConnell said, "The eyes of the world are on this race. It's an international event. There is no presidential contest this year. This is the biggest race in the country. And the consequences are enormous." The event was held at the home of Terry Forcht, whose many business interests include the newspaper.
  • Two commentators on Fox News raised questions about whether or not McConnell can be successful on Election Day, and what they might have to do with whether Republicans gain a Senate majority. On Fox, radio host Richard Fowler called McConnell's re-election "highly unlikely" because of his high unfavorable ratings, and former White House assistant Brad Blakeman said McConnell could be the person to blame if Republicans don't gain the Senate majority. But Blakeman seemed to think McConnell would win.
  • Grimes tried to keep alive the issue of the resignation of McConnell's campaign manager, issuing a press release posing 10 questions the senator should answer, starting with "When did you know that Benton was potentially tied to the federal criminal investigation of a bribery scandal?"
  • McConnell was named federal legislator of the year by the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association at their meeting in Louisville. For his official press release, which includes the text of his speech, click here.
  • Grimes spoke to the Louisville Rotary Club but did not take questions, "in a departure from Rotary Club custom," Joe Arnold of WHAS-TV reports, quoting club Executive Director Debe Skidmore as saying the "Grimes team" had requested that.

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