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Internal McConnell poll shows 7 percent lead over Grimes

Internal McConnell poll shows 7 percent lead over Grimes

by Joe Arnold


Posted on June 27, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 8:14 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- On the heels of a survey from a Democratic pollster which showed Alison Lundergan Grimes with a slight lead in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, an internal poll conducted for Mitch McConnell's campaign shows McConnell leading by seven percent.

In a polling memo obtained by WHAS11 News, longtime McConnell pollster Jan R van Lohuizen reports that McConnell has "taken a clear lead in the race."

"Contrasting with publicly released surveys conducted before or immediately following the primary we show that you have a 7% lead," van Lohuizen wrote.  "As of today 49% of Kentuckians are planning to vote for you while 42% plan to vote for Allison Lundergan Grimes."

A succession of nearly two dozen public polls, including one released on Thursday by Public Policy Polling (PPP), show McConnell and Grimes in a statistical dead heat.

The PPP poll, commissioned by Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund (ATFAF), shows Grimes leading McConnell 48% to 46%, with 6% undecided.

The PPP poll was conducted June 20 through 22.  The McConnell survey was conducted June 22 through June 25.

"As Alison continues to gain support among Kentucky voters, the McConnell campaign is stuck in reverse," the Grimes campaign said on Thursday, "receiving no post-primary bump from the 40 percent of Republican voters who voted against him in the May primary."

The van Lohuizen memo, however, concludes that his poll results "show a unified Republican party."

"At this time 85% of likely Republican voters support you," van Lohuizen wrote.  "Among likely voters who identify themselves as Tea Party Republicans, 92% supports you."

While the internal McConnell campaign memo does not include information on any other questions that may have been asked of respondents, the campaign indicated that the Senate contest question was the first question of the poll and that it was not an informed ballot.

The PPP poll also tested public attitudes on how PPP characterized competing proposals by McConnell and Grimes on how to fund a new Brent Spence Bridge connecting Covington, KY and Cincinnati, OH. By a more than a six-to-one margin (63% to 10%), respondents in the PPP poll favored Grimes’ proposal to fund new bridge and road construction “by closing tax loopholes benefiting corporations and the wealthy” over McConnell’s proposal which PPP said would “reduce wages paid to construction workers.”

McConnell proposed repealing federal prevailing wage laws, which mandate that workers on federal-related construction projects are paid according to standard wages in the local area of the project.

"It costs government extra money by requiring government contractors pay beyond what are considered competitive wages," McConnell said.
“Kentuckians clearly prefer a Senate candidate who will close corporate tax loopholes and end tax breaks for the wealthy,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling. “These issues are as important to them, if not more important, than issues currently being debated in the campaign. The poll suggests that tax fairness could be a sleeper issue in this race.”

The PPP poll surveyed 682 Kentucky voters from June 20 to 22 using automated telephone interviews. The margin of error is +/-3.8%. 80% of interviews for the poll were conducted over the phone with 20% interviewed over the internet to reach respondents who don’t have landline telephones.

The van Lohuizen poll interviewed 807 likely voters from a statewide sample of voters who either had voted in 1 of 4 previous elections or had registered since November 2012. Thirty-five percent of the interviews were conducted with cellphone users.  The margin of error associated with the results is +/- 3.5%.