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Election 2014: Kentucky Senate

Kentucky Senate: McConnell (R) 52%, Grimes (D) 44%

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has crossed the 50% mark now in his bid for reelection in Kentucky.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Kentucky Voters finds McConnell with 52% support to Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes’ 44%. Two percent (2%) prefer another candidate in the race, and three percent (3%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The incumbent led 46% to 41% in September and was ahead 48% to 41% in late May.

Kentucky remains Leans Republican in the Rasmussen Reports’ 2014 Senate Balance of Power rankings. Democrats have had high hopes all year that Grimes, Kentucky’s current secretary of State, could unseat McConnell who has been a member of the Senate since 1985. He’s been the Senate Republican leader since 2007.

This survey was taken following the candidates’ only debate earlier in the week.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of Kentucky voters say they have already made up their minds how they are going to vote, and McConnell leads 55% to 45% among these voters. Among the 24% who still could change their minds, the candidates are tied at 41% apiece, with 17% opting for a third-party candidate or undecided.

Among the 84% of Kentucky voters who say they will definitely vote in this contest, McConnell leads 53% to 44%.

Grimes has the support of 73% of Kentucky Democrats and 16% of the state’s Republicans. McConnell earns 83% backing from his fellow Republicans and 24% of the vote from Democrats. He also has a 21-point lead among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters in Kentucky was conducted on October 15-16, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Grimes has been hurt by her refusal to say whether she voted for President Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections, but the president remains highly unpopular in the Bluegrass State. Just 40% approve of the job he is doing, while 59% disapprove. This includes 20% who Strongly Approve and 48% who Strongly Disapprove, giving him a job approval rating in Kentucky much worse than what he earns nationally.

Coal which is a major industry in the state also appears to be a deciding factor in this contest. Just 13% of Kentucky voters think the Obama administration’s new regulations on the coal industry will help the economy, while 57% believe they will hurt the economy instead. Only 17% say the regulations will have no impact. These attitudes haven’t changed since May and are a much more negative assessment of the regulations than voters have nationally.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters who say the new coal regulations will help the economy and 82% of those who say they will have no impact support Grimes. But 72% of the much larger group who say the regulations will hurt the economy favor McConnell.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) of all voters in Kentucky have an unfavorable opinion of the new national health care law, while 55% view it unfavorably. This is a more negative view than voters have nationally and includes 18% with a Very Favorable view and 39% with a Very Unfavorable one.

Forty-one percent (41%) of voters in the state think Congress and the president should go through Obamacare piece by piece to improve it, but just as many agree (40%) with McConnell and favor repealing the entire law and starting over again. Just 13% want to leave the law as is. That’s stronger support for repeal than is found nationwide.

Grimes has the support of 57% of voters who favor a piece-by-piece approach and 93% of those who want to keep the law as is. Eighty-three percent (83%) of voters who want to repeal the health care law favor McConnell.

The incumbent is viewed favorably by 49% of all Kentucky voters and unfavorably by 47%. This includes 24% with a Very Favorable opinion of McConnell and 30% with a Very Unfavorable one.

For Grimes, favorables are 46% and unfavorable 50%. This includes 24% with a Very Favorable view of her and 34% with a Very Unfavorable one.

See our most recent numbers from the Senate races in AlaskaArkansas, ColoradoDelawareGeorgiaIdahoIllinoisIowa, KansasLouisianaMaineMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMontanaNebraskaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNorth CarolinaOklahomaOklahoma (special),OregonSouth CarolinaSouth Carolina (special)South Dakota,TennesseeTexasVirginiaWest Virginia and Wyoming.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Kentucky voters approve of the job Democratic Governor Steve Beshear is doing, including 23% who Strongly Approve. Thirty-six percent (36%) disapprove of his job performance, with 15% who Strongly Disapprove.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters in Kentucky was conducted on October 15-16, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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