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Mongiardo still leads, but Conway closing in exclusive poll

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 12, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Updated Thursday, May 13 at 12:47 AM

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) - Jack Conway appears to have closing speed.

Two months ago, Conway trailed in the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll by 18 points.  Last month he closed the gap to three points.  His Derby horse may have finished in 8th place in the Kentucky Derby, but he and Daniel Mongiardo may be headed toward a photo finish.

Daniel Mongiardo and Jack Conway are in a virtual dead heat, with Mongiardo leading by one point, three other candidates gobbling up 13% of the primary voters and 12 percent still undecided.

Click here for a link to the full survey, including crosstabs.

37% Conway
38% Mongiardo
3% Buckmaster
7% Price
3% Sweeney
12% Undecided

"It's going to come down to a late election night," said Democratic strategist Bob Gunnell, "Jack Conway has the momentum.  The question is, has he caught him and surpassed him?"  Gunnell is a longtime political consultant for high-profile races throughout the state and nation. He has contributed to Jack Conway's campaign.

Mongiardo has cast himself as an independent Democrat, and he leads by five points among conservative Democrats.

Democrats - Conservative Voters
(Margin of Error: +/- 3.9%)
 Daniel Mongiardo - 37%
 Jack Conway - 32%

Conway's appeal is wider among liberal Democrats who support him by a seven point margin.

Democrats - Liberal Voters
(Margin of Error: +/- 3.9%)
 Daniel Mongiardo - 35%
 Jack Conway - 42%

"I'm very optimistic of where we're at," Mongiardo said in Pikeville, Wednesday.  "For the last 16 months, I've spent most of that time creating an organization across this state while my opponent has spent that time raising money and doing nothing but chasing money.  And in the end, if this is going to be a close race, it's going to come down to organization. It's going to be about people not money."

Jack Conway's Louisville home base gives him a better than 2-1 advantage.

Democrats - Louisville Voters
(Margin of Error: +/- 3.9%)
 Daniel Mongiardo - 25%
 Jack Conway - 56%

While Mongiardo's native Eastern Kentucky gives him about a 3-1 advantage.

Democrats - Eastern Kentucky Voters
(Margin of Error: +/- 3.9%)
 Daniel Mongiardo - 58%
 Jack Conway -- 17%

The race may come down to Who can better turn out the vote.

"Jack Conway's organization has the money," Gunnell continued, "Dan Mongiardo had the early lead in that because of his organization in the governor's office.  I think it's going to come down to West Kentucky."

And Mongiardo leads in Western Kentucky by 12 points.

Democrats - Western Kentucky Voters
(Margin of Error: +/- 3.9%)
 Daniel Mongiardo - 44%
 Jack Conway - 32%

"I've got a strong network in western Kentucky," Conway said in a phone interview from eastern Kentucky, "I'll expect we'll do well down there.  I've worked eastern Kentucky awfully hard.  We'll be working central kentucky quite a bit between now and election day and obviously Louisville being my hometown, I think a strong turnout there would help me.  But we have not conceded any part of the state."

And Louisville's mayor's race may play a factor in this primary.  With seven Democrats on the mayoral ballot, voter turnout could be high - to Jack Conway's advantage.
And Thursday night at 5pm -- our exclusive poll of the Louisville mayor's race.

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