A new WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll of Kentucky's U.S. Senate primaries released on Sunday, shows substantial leads for Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Daniel Mongiardo in their respective races.
In the GOP race, Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul leads Secretary of State Trey Grayson by 15 points, 42% to 27%.
It continues a dramatic surge for Paul, who came out of the gate last August trailing Grayson 37% to 26% in the first WHAS11/Survey USA poll. By November, it was a statistical dead heat with Paul leading Grayson, 35% to 32%.
Analysis: Paul - with considerable "free media" help, especially from interviews on Fox News that reach very likely GOP voters, and other cable outlets - has jumped 16 points since August, while Grayson has dropped ten points. Grayson has begun to unleash a series of television commercials, including several attack ads that paint Paul's views as out of step with Kentucky conservatives. With 19% of likely primary voters undecided and Rand Paul, who has never before run for office, still undefined for many voters, the GOP battle may come down to whose definition of Paul voters believe. The other question is, has Grayson's one and a half terms as Secretary of State given him the sufficient name identification among voters? Those are a few questions in strategists' minds.
Four other candidates on the Republican ballot combine to take 11% of the vote.
Pollster Survey USA reports: Paul "is ahead among all demographic groups and in all parts of the state. Grayson, Kentucky's Secretary of State, leads Paul only among those primary voters who do not own guns."
Paul Campaign: "Rand Paul has earned a lot of credibility on the issues Kentuckians care about..."
Grayson Campaign: "Once Kentucky Republicans learn more about the radical views of Rand Paul...... they will have a different opinion."
Meanwhile, Republican Bill Johnson garnered only 5% support in the poll. Johnson has touted 23% primary support in an unsubstantiated poll posted on his campaign website. I am still awaiting a response to an e-mail request for the methodology of that poll. Ironically, Johnson questions the methodology of the Bluegrass Poll, which was conducted by Survey USA, which is respected as an independent pollster and has backed that up with an impressive track record in recent years.
Bill Johnson: "I would have been tossed out of any good business executive’s office with a story and disclaimer like the one presented by Survey USA. To say that the voters of Kentucky are buying Rand Paul when 1 out of 5 of those shoppers have never been to a primary election store is simply crazy."
In the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo leads Attorney General Jack Conway by 18 points, 45% to 27%. 19% of likely voters are undecided. Mongiardo leads in much of the state. Conway is ahead in his home turf, the greater Louisville area. Three other Democrats split the remaining 9% of the vote.
Analysis: Since the initial WHAS11/Survey USA poll in August, when Mongiardo led Conway 39% to 31%, Mongiardo is up six points and Conway is down four points. The Lt. Governor clearly enjoys better statewide name recognition than Conway, especially from his upset bid against Sen. Jim Bunning six years ago and his subsequent race for Lt. Governor, not to mention the statewide press Mongiardo gets in his office. While Conway, Kentucky's Attorney General, receives some press attention in his constitutional role, he will likely split his considerable war chest between increasing his name identification and on attack ads against Mongiardo.
Pollster Survey USA reports: "Mongiardo, Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor, leads by 2:1 among those age 50+, and by 3:1 among those 65+. Mongiardo leads in much of the state; Conway is ahead in greater Louisville, and competitive among younger voters."
Mongiardo Campaign: ".... we realize now is no time to rest. With so much at stake, we are determined to redouble our efforts, work harder and work longer...."
Conway Campaign: "We have always expected this race to be competitive. Our opponent has been campaigning for office in nine of the past 12 years, including three times for state-wide office."
WHAS11 Political Editor Joe Arnold is reporting on the poll results Monday night at 5pm and 6pm on WHAS11 News.
"Rand Paul has earned a lot of credibility on the issues Kentuckians
care about like a balanced federal budget, term limits, strong
national defense and following the U.S. Constitution. The Tea Party
movement has clearly gotten the attention of Kentucky Republicans."
David Adams, campaign manager
Rand Paul for U.S. Senate
Trey Grayson is running a race designed to peak on May 18th when the only poll that matters is taken. Once Kentucky Republicans learn more about the radical views of Rand Paul, like advocating for the release of terrorists back in to battle against our troops, they will have a different opinion. Perhaps before joining the family business, Ron Paul’s son should ask Governor Northup and Governor Henry how much a March survey matters.
Nate Hodson, campaign manager
"The WHAS / Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll confirms our most recent internal poll. The two polls taken together leaves no doubt that Daniel Mongiardo is the candidate Kentucky families trust the most to fight for them in the Senate as evidenced by his taking on Jim Bunning and standing up for Kentucky’s jobless last week. Daniel will take on the Washington insiders and entrenched special interests to put Kentucky families first, get our economy moving, and get spending under control."
"Daniel has always believed, and as The Bluegrass Poll affirms, campaigns are ultimately about people, not money. And when it comes to people, there is no substitute for hard work. These poll results serve only to energize Daniel and his supporters. My phone has been ringing off the hook today as supporters from across the state have been calling, excited with these results. But with nine weeks left and so many working, middle class families counting on Daniel, we realize now is no time to rest. With so much at stake, we are determined to redouble our efforts, work harder and work longer until the last vote is counted on Election Day."
Kim Geveden, Spokesperson
Mongiardo U.S. Senate Campaign
“Our focus is on our long-term campaign strategy. Jack Conway has a strong record as Attorney General and is focused on creating jobs for Kentuckians, reducing the deficit and bringing accountability to Washington. We are confident he is the best candidate to take back Wendell Ford’s Senate seat and once voters have the opportunity to compare Jack’s record and vision for Kentucky with our opponent’s, they will choose Jack to be the Democratic nominee on May 18. We have always expected this race to be competitive. Our opponent has been campaigning for office in nine of the past 12 years, including three times for state-wide office.
Allison Haley, Spokesperson
Conway U.S. Senate Campaign
SURVEY USA POLL RESULTS
Celebrity Name Recognition or May 18th Primary Reality?
ELKTON —Kentucky GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Bill Johnson today issued the following statement regarding the Survey USA poll.
“The methodology used in the Survey USA poll took a sample of Kentucky residents with a telephone number and asked them if they were registered Republicans and likely to vote in the primary. History shows that regardless of the answer, only 1 in 5 will actually cast a vote in the Republican primary. This is a name recognition poll more appropriate to a general election than a Republican primary.
“The Survey USA methodology disclaimer states, ‘There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than sampling error. These include the manner in which specialized populations, such as likely voters, are determined. It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these and other factors.’
“What a fraud. Out of the approximately one million registered Republicans, about 200,000 will cast primary votes. When a sample is taken from the 200,000 with a history of primary voting, a much different picture emerges. I remain confident in my campaign’s base of support and continued progress in this primary election.
“As a businessman, I understand it is important to base decisions and actions on proper data. I would have been tossed out of any good business executive’s office with a story and disclaimer like the one presented by Survey USA. To say that the voters of Kentucky are buying Rand Paul when 1 out of 5 of those shoppers have never been to a primary election store is simply crazy.
“I will remain in this race primary race until the results on May 18th. The media, pollsters, Washington elite, power brokers, and money machines will not deter my efforts.”