Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell has a slight edge over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes going into this weekend’s Fancy Farm picnic, according to the Bluegrass Poll released Monday.
McConnell leads Grimes by two points among likely U.S. Senate voters in a survey conducted by Survey USA for The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV, along with the Lexington Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV.
Here’s what is notable about the July survey.
Tied, But McConnell Momentum
The poll shows McConnell with his first lead in the Bluegrass Poll, with about three months to go before the election.
Democrats and Grimes’ campaign emphasized this is still a statistical tie within the survey’s four-percent margin of error, and it matches polling averages in Kentucky’s Senate race.
McConnell allies said he has the momentum, however, when compared to previous Bluegrass Polls from earlier this year.
For instance, Grimes was up by four percentage points in the February poll and led by one point in the May survey.
The senator’s favorable ratings are also going in the positive direction—up seven points compared to a few months ago.
Where Are The Women?
Grimes leads McConnell among women by just one point. McConnell holds a six point advantage with men.
The February survey showed Grimes leading women by 12 points.
McConnell’s strongest support is among seniors—he pummels Grimes by 14 points with voters 65 years of age or older. She is ahead among voters making under $40,000 annually.
After a bruising primary contest, 82 percent of Republicans say they now support McConnell’s re-election.
Conservative grassroots activists remain resentful of McConnell’s tactics and positions, but when it comes to party affiliation, the GOP appears to be doing a better job coalescing.
The poll found just 74 percent of fellow Democrats are supporting Grimes.
Meanwhile, McConnell is pulling 20 percent of registered Democrats to support his re-election. Grimes has just about 13 percent of GOP voters favoring her bid.
Grimes carries 50 percent of independent voters.
Eastern Kentucky Coal is a McConnell Win
The Grimes campaign announced Monday that former President Bill Clinton next week will make a campaign stop in Hazard.
It may be a sign that she needs to shore up support in the state’s coal regions, where the poll shows that McConnell has a political fortress.
Likely voters in Eastern Kentucky give McConnell his largest margin—a 15-point lead.
About 52 percent said they trust McConnell more on coal. About 34 percent chose Grimes.
Barack Obama and National, Kentucky Democrats
President Obama’s numbers in Kentucky remain abysmal—28 percent hold a favorable view of the country’s leader, according to the poll.
That remains unchanged when compared to past polling, despite Grimes’ efforts to distance herself from Obama.
The latest Bluegrass Poll said Kentuckians are also unhappy with the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Asked which party would do a better job running the Senate, likely voters favored Republicans 48 to 40 percent over Democrats.