Politics
1:11 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Poll Shows Mitch McConnell Struggling for Support

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

A new poll shows Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is struggling to retain support among voters.

The Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll shows that twice as many voters are against McConnell as there are supporting him. It also finds that only one-third of Republicans support him in the 2014 election.

In recent weeks, Kentucky's senior senator has been besieged by liberal and Tea Party groups alike.

From The C-J:

According to the poll of 609 registered voters, 34 percent said they plan to vote against McConnell while just 17 percent say they will vote to give him another six years. The poll found that 44 percent said they will have to wait and see who is running against him and 6 percent said they are not sure.

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The poll found that while 51 percent of Democrats said they definitely vote against McConnell, only 34 percent of Republicans said they would back him against all comers.

Ahead of the 2014 contest, progressive groups and Tea Party activists are considering a full partnership to "soften-up" the GOP leader.

As WFPL reported earlier this month, over a dozen Tea Party groups from around the state warned McConnell against co-opting the movement and are seeking a primary challenger. A spokesman for the coalition of groups, John Kemper, told the radio station he is on the short-list of potential primary candidates.

But McConnell's re-election campaign is beginning to push back against the Tea Party groups who are openly flirting with running against him. In an e-mail to supporters, campaign manager Jesse Benton says that liberals are backing a "phony" Tea Party.

"One of the reasons I was hired for this job was because of my longstanding friendships I made with the TEA Party conservatives during the year I spent living in Rand Paul’s basement as senior advisor and campaign manager," says Benton. "I know the real grassroots, and I share Leader McConnell’s commitment to carry their voices to Washington, not allow them to be cynically co-opted by radical liberals."

Noticeably absent from the list of frustrated groups was the Louisville Tea Party, which has balked at joining the call to take on McConnell directly. But as the poll indicates the frustration with McConnell amongst conservatives is no myth.

"We are simply waiting to see if a formidable candidate steps up, one who our members want to support," the Louisville group said in a Twitter message.

Some political observers, however, point out that McConnell is still an unthreatened incumbent with a hefty campaign account. And while state Tea Party and liberal groups are vocally opposed to McConnell, no serious challenger has emerged from either side.

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