McConnell Grimes

The new Bluegrass Poll released tonight shows the race between Sen. Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes is a virtual dead heat with only 15 days to go before the election.

The new poll shows McConnell with a slim 44 to 43 percent lead over Grimes, well within the margin of error. Libertarian candidate David Patterson garnered 5 percent, with 8 percent of respondents undecided.

The last Bluegrass Poll from two weeks ago showed Grimes with a slim 2 percent lead over McConnell, also within the margin of error.

The takeaway — assuming the Bluegrass Poll conducted by the reliable Survey USA is accurate — is that the race is either candidate’s to win as they scramble to the finish line.

The demographics from the poll varied little from the Bluegrass Poll conducted two weeks ago, but Grimes saw her support slip in a few areas. Her support among African-American voters tanked, going from an 80-to-15 percent advantage over McConnell to only a 60-to-22 percent advantage, slipping a net 27 percent. Such a decline may be due to Grimes’ tortured maneuvering to refuse to answer whether she voted for President Obama, who has a favorable rating 40 percent higher than his unfavorable rating among that demographic. African-Americans only made up 6 percent of the polling sample.

Though support among those who identify as Democrat or Republican barely budged, independents moved away from Grimes: Whereas she had a 13 percent advantage two weeks ago, they now favor McConnell by 3 percent.

McConnell’s campaign adviser Josh Holmes immediately called the results of the poll into question on Twitter, saying the Bluegrass Poll is the only one showing a close race.

Grimes’ campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said the polls confirm what their own internal polling shows: The race is a dead heat. He added that those in the media who were writing her campaign off were sadly mistaken, as “the disconnect between Beltway punditry and the reality on the ground is vast.”

“Today’s Bluegrass Poll proves that our campaign remains poised to win,” said Hurst in a statement. “We are just inches away from putting an end to Mitch McConnell’s failed 30-year Washington voting record. Despite a spending surge in the last two weeks and dumping nearly $50 million to date, McConnell and his allies are in serious trouble. Momentum continues to grow around our Kentucky-focused campaign, and in the final two weeks of this race, it’s the momentum, energy and solid field strategy that will ensure Kentucky sends Alison Lundergan Grimes to the U.S. Senate.”

Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]


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