Williams maintain big lead, Moffett gains in primary poll


by Joe Arnold


Posted on May 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 3:20 PM

With Kentucky's primary election less than one week away, a new WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll shows the ticket of David Williams and Richie Farmer in control of  the Republican race for governor.

Kentucky Governor’s race
500 likely GOP Primary voters

Williams/Farmer       47%
Moffett/Harmon          21%
Holsclaw/Vermillion  12%
Undecided                   21%
Margin of Error: ± 4.5%

Yet, self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate Phil Moffett is  making some gains.

As Republican voters begin to make up their minds, their support of Senate President David Williams is not growing.  His showing is flat from one month ago.  Phil Moffett, meanwhile, has gained seven points compared to the last poll.

“I think they are hearing the message," Moffett said, "They are waking up. More people have been exposed to our dinners and our rallies and those types of things. And they hear the message of the four corners platform and they understand it and believe it.”

Compared to the WHAS11/Courier-Journal poll conducted three weeks ago, the Williams-Farmer ticket has lost ground to the campaign of Moffett and Mike Harmon.  In April, Williams led Moffett by a 3:1 margin, today Williams leads by a 2:1 margin.
"We have been taking on two primary opponents who have run very negative campaigns," explained Williams-Farmer campaign manager Scott Jennings, "But, we’re also taking on the governor’s office and his campaign, his state party, the Democratic Governors Association.  They are all spending enormous time and resources trying to upend this primary, trying to intervene in a Republican primary, and they have failed.”
Trailing with 12 percent support, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw has not made any gains.  But she points to the 21 percent of likely Republican voters who are still undecided.  And, election officials are predicting only ten percent voter turnout.
“I think the lower the turnout, the better I’ll do," Holsclaw said, "However, I don’t even want to say that simply because I want to encourage people to vote. You know, me being governor is not the most important thing. The most important thing is that we have somebody in there who is going to take care of Kentucky.”

Governor Steve Beshear is not challenged in the Democratic primary.  But, with a Democratic incumbent in an increasingly conservative state, the Kentucky race is being watched nationally.  A key question is whether the Tea Party influence which dominated the 2010 election cycle is as strong in 2011.

“They’re very influential," Moffett said, "They’re very excited about our platform, about our candidacy.”
Kentucky GOP Primary
Tea Party supporters

Williams/Farmer         43%
Moffett/Harmon           28%
Holsclaw/Vermillion  11%
Undecided                   18%
Margin of Error: ± 4.5%

Among Republicans with a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, Moffett closes the gap even more against Williams - 43-28 percent. 

“The fact is, David Williams has a record of cutting taxes, cutting spending, blocking debt, fighting for conservative values,” Jennings said. 

Holsclaw has 11 percent support among Republicans with a favorable view of the Tea Party movement.

“I think (Moffett is) drawing from the Tea Party group," Holsclaw said, "a lot of extremists to be quite honest with you, and I think my draw is from just the average voter out there.”
Williams leads in every region of the state, but is strongest in eastern Kentucky, where he grabs 66 percent of GOP primary voters.

Eastern Kentucky voters

Williams/Farmer  66%
Moffett/Harmon  13%
Holsclaw/Vermillion  10%
Undecided          12%
Margin of Error: ± 4.5%

Western Kentucky voters

Williams/Farmer  48%
Moffett/Harmon  20%
Holsclaw/Vermillion  3%
Undecided          29%
Margin of Error: ± 4.5%

Moffett is from Louisville but his biggest support is in North Central Kentucky. 

North Central Kentucky voters

Williams/Farmer  40%
Moffett/Harmon  29%
Holsclaw/Vermillion  9%
Undecided          23%
Margin of Error: ± 4.5%

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw outperforms Moffett in the Louisville area. 

Louisville Region voters

Williams/Farmer  42%
Moffett/Harmon  16%
Holsclaw/Vermillion  25%
Undecided          18%
Margin of Error: ± 4.5%