"Although Grimes had some success convincing voters that she might be better for the coal industry than McConnell, especially in the mountainous region of Eastern Kentucky, the issue remained tilted toward the Republicans throughout the contest. The sluggish economic recovery also served as a backdrop to the 2014 Kentucky Senate campaign. Kentuckians might be conservative on social and cultural issues, but they do not especially tilt to the right when it comes to domestic economic policy. It's a poor state, and many Kentuckians rely on national social-welfare policies to get by." However, "Turmoil in Syria and Iraq, as well as at the southern U.S. border, helped keep attention directed away from bread-and-butter economic matters."
"Kentucky contains a disproportionately large number of swing voters who were in play for the Senate election. . . . These relatively moderate, if not conservative, voters tend to be registered Democrats but they often side with the Republicans in national elections, and many seem to have no loyalty to either side. . . . The McConnell strategy therefore was simple and straightforward: Do anything and everything to link Grimes to the President. . . . McConnell and Grimes appear to be splitting these swing voters fairly evenly, depending on how they're defined, but Grimes needed a much better share than that to compensate for the conservative tilt of the state's partisans." (Read more)