Today’s Mellman Group poll finds Alison Grimes leading Mitch McConnell, 44%-42%. Most shockingly, among voters who know both candidates, Grimes leads McConnell by 15 points.
Not only does Grimes hold a slim 44%-42% lead over McConnell, but she leads by 7 points with Independents, and Grimes has a 33 point lead with moderates, 56%-23%. McConnell is running close to Grimes because of his advantage in name recognition, but when that advantage is taken away by asking voters who know both candidates the races moves heavily into the Democrat’s favor.
This chart from The Mellman Group says it all:
The sample size is small, but it suggests that there is something there. To know Alison Grimes is to like her. This hunch is backed up by the difference in the two candidates’ job approval ratings. As Kentucky Secretary of State, Grimes has a (+4) net job approval rating, 33%-29%. McConnell has a net (-20) job approval rating. Fifty eight percent of those polled disapprove of the job McConnell is doing in the Senate. Only 38% approve of McConnell’s Senate work.
By a 59 point margin voters believe that he puts the interests of the Republican Party ahead of those of Kentucky. Voters also believe that McConnell is “too political,” and has been in Washington for too long.
Mitch McConnell has made himself the face of Senate obstruction, and it is costing him with the voters back home. There is a common belief among Republican elected officials that opposing Obama is good politics, but apparently opposing Obama on everything is not.
In poll after poll, the same message is being sent. Voters across the country want President Obama and Republicans in Congress to cooperate more. Republicans took their obstruction too far. By announcing that his goal was to make Obama a one term president, McConnell got too national and alienated the folks back home.
Alison Grimes is running the perfect kind of campaign. She is running to put Kentucky first. She is a current statewide officeholder who is running against McConnell’s longevity and incumbency. Grimes is no Elizabeth Colbert Busch. She isn’t trying to turn the race into Republican versus Republican lite. She is asking Kentucky voters to take back their Senate seat from a man who has forgotten them by becoming too embedded in national Republican politics.
Republicans like Mitch McConnell foolishly thought that there would be no political price to pay for their obstruction. They really believed that they could benefit from the strategy of obstruct and blame Obama. However, it is looking more and more like there could be a potential voter backlash brewing against the cynical Republican ploy of just saying no.
This is the second poll in two days to show Grimes leading McConnell. The McConnell camp can’t continue to laugh off these polls, or sell them as an Obama conspiracy to get Mitch. Whether McConnell wants to hear it or not, Kentucky voters are sending him the message that it is time for him to go. If he won’t leave on his own, voters will have to ditch Mitch on Election Day 2014.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association