Senator A. Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell leads Grimes 52 percent to 42 percent, said Doug Kaplan, the president of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based firm that conducted the poll between Sept. 13 and 16. The poll carries a 3 percent margin of error.
“The key takeaway from the poll is that McConnell finally has created some space between himself in Grimes,” he said.
“Although he won the GOP primary easily, but there was still some emotional overhang,” he said. “During the overhang, Kentucky voters took a pause to allow Grimes to make her case, but the poll shows that the moment has passed.”
In July a Human Events/Gravis poll showed both candidates tied at 45 percent, he said.
Kaplan said, “Kentucky is at the crossroads of Midwest and the East and the South with a diverse business and geographic profile—I would not say it behaves like a battleground state, because those change with the times, rather it behaves like a borderline state always in flux.”
An example of Kentucky’s hybrid character is President Barack Obama’s disapproval rating of 59 percent, which is closer to the national average than in other southern states, he said. “With a seven-point spread between Obama’s approval rating and his own poll numbers, McConnell still has voters to win over. But, Grimes is outpolling the president’s 32 percent approval by 10 points, so Obama is only going to drag her down.”
The poll also asked Kentuckians how they felt about McConnell’s GOP colleague Sen. Randal H. “Rand” Paul if he was running for the White House in 2016.
Kentucky voters prefer Paul to former First Lady Hillary R. Clinton, 46 percent to her 44 percent.
Paul also leads liberal heroine Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by 12 points, 52 percent to 44 percent.