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Kentucky Senate: McConnell Now Holds 12-point Lead

Incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell continues to come back strong in Kentucky where he now leads his Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford 50% to 38%, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state.

Just two months ago, McConnell, the Senate minority leader, was down five percentage points to Lunsford, but he took a seven-point lead in June. Lunsford’s strong showing in May reflected a bounce following his victory in the Democratic Primary.

With “leaners” factored in, McConnell now leads Lunsford 52% to 42%. In the Presidential race, John McCain leads Barack Obama in Kentucky.Incumbents who poll below 50% are generally viewed as vulnerable, and the new survey, taken Tuesday night, marks the first time McConnell has broken above that number since Lunsford secured his party’s nomination in May. McConnell, reelected in 2002 with the largest majority by a Republican in the state’s history, is seeking a fifth six-year term.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Republicans in Kentucky now support McConnell, as do 26% of Democrats. By contrast, Lunsford has the support of 67% of Democrats and nine percent of Republicans. Among unaffiliated voters, 44% back the incumbent, 16% his Democratic opponent and 35% remain undecided.

McConnell is viewed favorably by 55% of the state’s voters, virtually the same as in June, while those who rate him unfavorably have dropped to 35% from 40% a month ago.

Lunsford’s numbers remain largely unchanged from June, with 42% viewing him favorably and 45% rating their view of him as unfavorable.

Lunsford, who served as Kentucky’s Commerce secretary from 1980-1983, ran unsuccessfully for governor of the state in 2003 and 2007. A health care company he co-founded and was associated with through the late 1980s and the 1990s was involved in several controversies. After he left the company, it settled a case with the federal government over questionable billings for $104.5 million but did not admit wrongdoing.

When Rasmussen Reports issued its Kentucky survey in May, the McConnell campaign team chose to attack the results and our firm. For those who are interested, Rasmussen Reports is proud of our track record. We provided a very accurate assessment of the Kentucky Governor’s race last fall, and in Senate races across the nation. An independent analysis of 32 public polling firms found Rasmussen Reports to be among the most accurate.

While things are looking better for Senator McConnell, many Republican Senate seats are potentially vulnerable this year. Those most likely to go Democratic include races in Virginia, Alaska, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. Other Republican seats in play can be found in Colorado, Mississippi and Minnesota. The only Democratic seat potentially at risk is in Louisiana.

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Rasmussen Markets data shows that McConnell is given a % chance of keeping his job. These numbers are updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants . It costs nothing to join and add your voice to the collective wisdom of the market.

Just 33% of the Kentucky voters give good or excellent marks to Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, who unsuccessfully challenged McConnell for his Senate seat in 1996. Twenty-eight percent (28%) rate Beshear’s job performance as poor.

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Kentucky Likely Republican

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

2002 Results

McConnell (R)

51%

51%

64%

Lunsford (D)

44%

43%

36%

This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports July 29, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.


Kentucky Trends: McConnell vs. Lunsford

Date

McConnell

Lunsford

10/29/2008

51%

44%

10/21/2008

50%

43%

09/30/2008

51%

42%

07/29/2008

50%

38%

06/25/2008

48%

41%

05/22/2008

44%

49%


Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in Kentucky

 

McConnell

Lunsford

Very Favorable

31%

16%

Somewhat Favorable

24%

29%

Somewhat Unfavorable

20%

24%

Very Unfavorable

22%

25%

Not Sure

4%

7%

About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.