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Campaigns react to WHAS11/Courier-Journal poll

by Joe Arnold


Posted on April 12, 2010 at 11:45 PM

The WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll of the U.S. Senate primaries is the buzz of the Kentucky political world.

Here's a link to the full poll with crosstabs from SurveyUSA.

Survey USA's analysis:

5 Weeks from KY Senate Primaries, Rand Paul Steady Atop Trey Grayson; Dan Mongiardo Loses Ground to Jack Conway:

In a Republican Primary for US Senate today, 04/12/10, 5 weeks from the vote, Rand Paul defeats Trey Grayson 45% to 30%, according to this exclusive Louisville Courier-Journal Bluegrass / WHAS-TV Poll conducted by SurveyUSA. Compared to a SurveyUSA poll released 5 weeks ago, both candidates have gained 3 points. Paul, an eye surgeon, political activist, and son of Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, leads by double digits among men and women, among conservatives, pro-life voters, gun owners, those without college educations, those with lower household incomes, and in western and north-central Kentucky. Grayson, Kentucky's Secretary of State, is competitive among middle-aged voters, moderate and liberal voters, those who do not own guns, college graduates, those with higher incomes, and in Eastern Kentucky. Grayson leads today only among the 1 in 5 Republican primary voters who say they are pro-choice. 3 other candidates on the Republican ballot today remain in single digits; 1 additional candidate, Bill Johnson, dropped out of the race and was not included for this release in the list of names read to voters. 5 weeks ago, Johnson had 5% of the vote.

In a Democratic primary for US Senate today, Dan Mongiardo has lost ground among women, the wealthy and among those in Western KY, and now finds himself running even with Jack Conway. Mongiardo, Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor, gets 35% today, down 10 points from a SurveyUSA poll 5 weeks ago. Conway, Kentucky's Attorney General, gets 32% today, up 5 points in the past 5 weeks. Mongiardo had led by 19 among women, now trails by 2, a swing of 21 points to Conway. Mongiardo had led by 14 among wealthier Democrats, now trails by 5, a swing of 19 points to Conway. Mongiardo had led 4:1 in Western KY, now leads there narrowly, a swing of 35 points to Conway. 3 other candidates combine today to take 11% of the vote; 21% of likely primary voters are undecided.

WHAS11's Stephanie Collins caught up with Jack Conway outside his Louisville campaign headquarters.  Here are a few excerpts with his reaction to the poll:

On the 35 point swing in his favor in Western Kentucky since the last WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll, Conway says "we're starting to tell our story," adding that his in-laws hail from Owensboro, and his father is originally from western Kentucky.

"We've raised enough money that we're now getting our message out on TV, and particularly in Western Kentucky with our statewide newspapers not reaching all the way to the West the way that they used to, to be up on TV in the Evansville media market and the Paducah media markets has made a big difference.  And I've traveled that part of the state quite a bit."

Conway added that his record as Attorney General resonated there, and among women, whose increase in support Conway says followed his work on cyber safety and his support for the Obama health care overhaul

"I think the health insurance debate, the start of the TV advertising really propelled us."

Conway says his campaign hasn't peaked with the poll news, that he is still traveling, and showing that he has respected the public trust more than Daniel Mongiardo.

Of his part-ownership of Stately Victor, a Derby contender after a win in the Bluegrass Stakes on Saturday, Conway says it should not reenforce the "silver spoon" characterization oft repeated my Mongiardo.

"It's the only horse I own right now.  I own part of it.  And my father is a self made man who came from Western Kentucky to Louisville and put himself through law school at night.  He taught history at Fairdale High School, coached football in the afternoon, and went to law school at night.

"I know that I'm fortunate," Conway said, "but I will never forget who sends me to the U.S. Senate and that's the way i intend to serve. So if Daniel Mongiardo wants to try to peddle that story, let him go ahead because it's just not factual."

Here are the full statements released by the other frontrunning campaigns in reaction to the poll:

Mongiardo campaign:

“Despite Jack Conway having the airwaves to himself for the past month and spending almost $500,000 on TV ads, this poll confirms that Daniel Mongiardo still leads Jack Conway.  We remain very confident that as our extensive grassroots effort gets under way and we begin competing on the airwaves, Daniel's authenticity and his message of fighting for Kentucky’s working families will resonate with voters.”
On Attorney General Conway’s watch, meth labs have more than doubled in Kentucky and prescription drug abuse has soared to an all time high. As Attorney General, Conway also personally approved slapping Kentucky’s working families and businesses with more than $120 MILLION in utility rate increases – during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression – and then turned around and accepted nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions from utility company executives and their lobbyists. As voters learn the truth about Jack Conway and his real record as Attorney General, they will realize that Jack Conway is not fighting on their side.
We are confident that Kentucky working families will elect a Senator like Daniel Mongiardo to fight for them, not the Washington establishment elites, political insiders and Wall Street special interests that are supporting Jack Conway.”
Kim Geveden, Spokesperson
Mongiardo U.S. Senate Campaign
Grayson campaign:
If automated polls determined the outcome of campaigns then Bruce Lunsford or Steve Henry would be Governor, not Steve Beshear, according to this poll at the same point in the ‘07 primary.  The automated interviewing technology they use is problematic and inaccurate compared to traditional polls conducted by live professional interviewers.  Our own polling (600 live interviews,
conducted 4/4 – 4/7, margin of error of +/- 4%) shows the race a dead heat.  We are out-raising them and out-working them.  The more voters learn about Rand Paul’s reliance on his father’s out of state political machine, the less desire they have to help Rand join the family business, especially as they hear more about Paul’s strange agenda and witness his willingness to say anything to hide it.  Trey Grayson is the true conservative in this race, and he will win in the only poll that matters – Election Day.

Nate Hodson
Campaign Manager
Trey Grayson for U.S. Senate
Paul campaign:

"Rand Paul's strong performance across the state reflects his solid support of issues important to Kentuckians like balanced budgets, private sector job creation, strong national defense, and term limits. Republicans in Kentucky know a real conservative when they see one and they recognize the urgent need to elect a no-nonsense leader like Rand Paul to restore faith in our nation."
David Adams, campaign manager
Rand Paul for U.S. Senate
Paul also spoke to WBKO-TV in Bowling Green in an interview also for WHAS11, saying he will continue grassroots campaigning. 
"We're pretty excited about where we are," Paul said Monday, "and people say. 'Are you surprised?' and I say, 'no, I'm astounded at how far we've come,' originally I only told my wife I think we have a 10% chance of winning, now I think we've got better than an even shot of winning.  Because, the Tea Party movement has gotten so huge.  People are so frustrated with an overreaching government, with the deficts.  People just want a change.  They want something different than the career politicans."
"People in the Tea Party movement sense there's a crisis coming," Paul said, "and that we need to something to get our government back."