Mitch McConnell Leads Ashley Judd 49-40 in New Poll

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leads actress Ashley Judd by nine percentage points, according to new poll released Wednesday.

The survey was conducted by RunSwitch & Harper Polling, which was co-founded by Republican strategist Scott Jennings of Kentucky.

It has a 3.3 percent margin of error and surveyed 850 likely voters.

Besides a near 10-point lead for McConnell, the firm shows the GOP leader with 60 percent support among Republican primary voters versus “someone else.”

Those figures differ from previous polls showing McConnell struggling amongst his base.

“My takeaways from the survey are that Senator McConnell is in solid-shape among Republicans and general election voters, and that Ashley Judd, for someone who has never run for office, already has a tough hole out of which to climb regarding her own image,” Jennings said in a online statement.

Judd is considering a bid against McConnell, and is expected to announce her intentions soon. But the Hollywood actress and liberal activist has already been targeted by attack ads, mainly criticizing her for living in Tennessee.

It also finds Judd trailing McConnell among men by nearly 20 points and that the two are tied among women voters.

Despite the bad numbers leaders of the super PAC Progress Kentucky tells WHAS-11′s Joe Arnold that McConnell is vulnerable to a primary and general election challenge.

Critics of the poll say besides being a GOP-leaning survey, Jennings is also a former McConnell campaign aide and previously served as deputy political director under President George W. Bush.

UPDATE:

Late last year, it was reported that Harper Polling was set up in part to help the GOP “bounce back” from the 2012 elections.

From Politico:

Harper Polling founder Brock McCleary, the outgoing polling director and deputy executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the aim of his project is to give the GOP access to flexible, cost-effective polling data that matches what Democrats are producing.

In a way, the project is an extension of a 2011 initiative at the NRCC to conduct in-house IVR polling. That effort was successful enough, according to McCleary, that he decided it would be worth doing on a larger scale.

For many, Harper Polling is a GOP attempt and response to Democratic-leaning firms such Public Policy Polling, which showed McConnell was the most unpopular senator in the country.

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