Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is caught between a tea bag and big money. Due to the Republican party’s shutdown of government, McConnell now trails his Democratic opponent Alison Grimes by 45 to 43.
Forty-eight percent of Kentucky voters are less likely to vote for McConnell next year because he supported the government shutdown, compared to a slim 34% who say they are likely to support him, according to a new Public Policy Polling poll.
Sixty percent of Kentucky voters opposed the shutdown, compared to only 32% who supported it. PPP said, “Those numbers are in line with what we’ve found in other red states — it doesn’t matter if a place went for Obama by 20 points or Romney by 20 points last fall, the shutdown is a huge problem for Republican politicians everywhere.”
The message here is that if only 32% in a red state support your government shutdown and 60% are opposed to it, your party made a huge mistake by letting the Tea Party control it.
Meanwhile, Southern Democrats outraised their Republican counterparts in the third quarter in nearly every competitive Senate contest. The third quarter ended the day the Republican shutdown began, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Democrats raising even more money in the fourth quarter.
Alison Grimes labeled McConnell “Senator Gridlock” over the GOP shutdown. McConnell seems to believe that by striking a deal with Reid, he’s proven her wrong. McConnell might take heart that the poll was conducted October 14-15, prior to his role as sane savior, but that doesn’t help the majority of Republicans.
It is ironic that it was Mitch McConnell who worked out a deal (albeit one with much pork for his state, per the “Kentucky kickback” meme) with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to save the country from the Republican default, but he’s being blamed for the GOP shutdown. The Reid/McConnell deal also ended the Republican shutdown.
Of course, Kentucky’s discontent with McConnell goes much deeper than just this shutdown, so he really couldn’t afford to be tarnished by Ted Cruz. But this poll suggests that it’s going to be impossible for most Republicans to avoid the consequences for what Ted Cruz did. Furthermore, most Republicans can’t claim that they were a part of a solution to their own party’s blatant malfeasance the way McConnell was.
McConnell’s red state relies heavily on federal money. And there’s just another irony — the red states that cry the loudest about big government are the first to the trough.
Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo via ABC News
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.