A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey conducted from December 12th through December 15th, brings more bad news for the Mitch McConnell camp. The poll finds that Mitch McConnell is despised by Kentucky voters, with 31 percent approving of his job performance and 61 percent disapproving of his performance. The survey found that Mitch McConnell has become almost as unpopular as Barack Obama in the deep red state. Obama sports an identical 31 percent approval rating, while 64 percent of Kentucky voters disapprove of how Obama is handling the presidency. Even Kentucky’s favorable Republican tilt may not be enough to save the Senate Minority Leader come next November. Although Kentucky went handily Republican in 2012, choosing Mitt Romney by a whopping 61-38 percent margin over Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell is unable to shake his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The Senate race is a toss up with McConnell clinging to an uninspiring 43-42 lead over Grimes. Perhaps even more embarrassing for the Senator, he does no better against Grimes than does his Tea Party challenger in the GOP, businessman Matt Bevin. Bevin also leads Grimes by a mere point, 39-38 percent. Mitch McConnell can no longer credibly describe himself as more electable than Bevin. While Bevin’s 13-23 favorability rating is under water, it is not nearly as awful as McConnell’s dreadful 31-61 approval spread. In addition, many voters have no opinion of Bevin yet, so he has more room to grow in popularity. McConnell, on the other hand is well known, and Kentucky voters do not like what they see.
Grimes’ favorability numbers are closer to even, with 31 percent of voters having a favorable opinion of her compared to 37 percent with an unfavorable opinion and another 32 percent unsure. Like Bevin, she has room to grow in popularity. With under a third of the Kentucky electorate approving of Mitch McConnell’s job performance, the Senator’s political future is very cloudy. Over 3/5ths of Kentucky voters are not happy with McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes offers them a credible Democratic alternative.
Compounding McConnell’s difficulties, he must also survive a GOP primary versus Matt Bevin, just to have an opportunity to face Grimes in the general election. While McConnell is expected to win the Republican primary, he does enjoy only 47 percent approval within his own party in Kentucky, so he certainly cannot take that primary race for granted. After serving nearly three decades in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell has given the voters in Kentucky plenty of time to evaluate his performance. The voters have seen enough and in 2014 they may force him out in either the primary or the general election.