The latest Bluegrass Poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, of 2,104 registered Kentucky voters finds that the presidential race would be a tossup between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. In a head to head match-up, each command the loyalty of 45 percent of Kentucky voters. The poll, conducted between May 5th and May 10th, shows that Hillary Clinton is remarkably competitive in Kentucky.
Clinton’s strength in the Bluegrass state contrasts sharply with President Obama’s poor performance in the state. In 2012, Obama lost Kentucky badly to Mitt Romney. Romney defeated Obama by a 60-38 percent margin. Kentucky has not been a competitive state in a presidential election since 1996 when Bill Clinton narrowly carried the state 46-45. In the 21st century, Republicans have carried Kentucky by double digits in four consecutive elections.
Hillary Clinton, however, appears to have the potential to put Kentucky back into play, as she manages a tie with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the most popular Republican presidential candidate in the state. Clinton’s working-class appeal plays well in the state, and she is competitive in every portion of the state except Western Kentucky.
Although Rand Paul is often portrayed by the media as appealing to young voters, Clinton leads Senator Paul among Kentucky voters under the age of 35, by a substantial 50-34 percent margin. Rand Paul has the edge with Kentucky Seniors by a smaller 50-44 spread.
The same poll found that Kentucky prefers a Democratic governor to a Republican. Democrat Jack Conway leads the three Republican candidates for governor by margins ranging from 6 to 12 percentage points.
Hillary Clinton’s broad appeal makes her a difficult candidate for Republicans to defeat. She not only runs strong in traditional swing states like Ohio and Florida, but she has the potential to bring additional states into play, like Arizona, Georgia, and Kentucky, that are usually regarded as safe red states.
Image via WFPL
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.