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KY-Sen: Bunning Is In Santorum Country

by: Crisitunity

Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 1:14 PM EDT

PPP (4/2-3, registered voters):

Ben Chandler (D): 47
Jim Bunning (R-inc): 33

Jack Conway (D): 42
Jim Bunning (R-inc): 33

Crit Luallen (D): 42
Jim Bunning (R-inc): 34

Dan Mongiardo (D): 43
Jim Bunning (R-inc): 36

Ben Chandler (D): 40
Trey Grayson (R): 34

Jack Conway (D): 37
Trey Grayson (R): 33

Crit Luallen (D): 34
Trey Grayson (R): 36

Dan Mongiardo (D): 36
Trey Grayson (R): 40
(MoE: ±4%)

We've had lots of clues that Jim Bunning is in trouble: a Research 2000 poll from January showing him in dead heats with Democratic challengers, reports of "lousy" fundraising, and not-so-private efforts by Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn to give him his gold watch and usher him out the back door. But now we have a poll, via PPP, that shows just how dire things have gotten for him. Bunning's job performance approval is 28/54 (notably worse than anything Chris Dodd has put up lately), and only 42% of Republicans approve.

Bunning loses by fairly wide margins to all four of his potential Democratic challengers, most significantly losing by 14 to Rep. Ben Chandler. (Chandler, AG Jack Conway, and Auditor Crit Luallen all seem to be in a semi-friendly standoff over which one gets to run; maybe these numbers will prompt Chandler to jump.) Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo is the only candidate in the race; although he would seem to have a name rec advantage from having run against Bunning in 2004, Mongiardo actually fares the least well, winning by 'only' 7. Mongiardo is the best-known of the Big 4, but has the highest negatives too, with 41/34 favorability. (The Lexington-based Chandler is at 38/28.)

The best favorability numbers in the poll, however, belong to Republican SoS Trey Grayson, who's at 46/19. In head-to-heads Grayson also fares much better than Bunning, losing to Chandler by 6, to Conway by 4, and narrowly beating Luallen and Mongiardo. This points to one potential danger for Democrats: that Bunning is hitting his nadir too early, giving him plenty of time to shuffle off into retirement and allow the more likable Grayson time to ramp up for a competitive run. Of course, that scenario presupposes a rational Bunning interested in doing what's best for the whole state GOP, not just for Jim Bunning.

PPP also polls state senate president David Williams as a potential GOP candidate (Williams met with Cornyn regarding a possible run). However, Williams fares even worse than Bunning in head-to-heads, losing 45-30 to Chandler, 43-29 to Conway, 41-31 to Luallen, and 43-32 to Mongiardo. I initially assumed the problem with Williams is he's a little-known state legislator, but he seems as well-known as the Democratic candidates; he just has lousy favorability ratings (28/41). So for the GOP, it's starting to look like Grayson or bust.

Crisitunity :: KY-Sen: Bunning Is In Santorum Country
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Holy hell
I've never seen such horrible numbers for an incumbent.

If Bunning is the nominee, this is a sure thing unless something radically changes in the next year and a half.

Just to as a catch up, Mongiardo and Conway are the only two announced to be running correct?  It's too bad Chandler isnt going to be the nominee, normally in these polls doing better than your primary opponents is by 1-3%, he's doing solidly better than all of them.

Conway hasn't yet announced
But Roll Call reported a couple of weeks ago that he was gonna join the race soon.

[ Parent ]
Conway and Luallen have significantly better favorables than Chandler, but are doing significantly worse.  Any reason why?  Gravitas?

And based on the numbers...
... I'm pulling for Conway.  Since he has better favorables than Chandler, and he's not giving up a vulnerable House seat.

[ Parent ]
Chandler's House seat is very Democratic
on a state level and probably would have voted for Clinton. Its packed with Democratic legislators and we'd never lose it in a neutral year.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Why does Grayson beat Luallen and Mongiardo?
And has anyone polled Chandler's seat if he runs for Senate?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

Because he's a non-scandel plauged republican
This IS Kentucky we're talking about.

[ Parent ]
Go Conway!
Strong candidate, doesn't give up a tough seat in Congress.  

It might be a good idea
It might be a great idea for Chandler to stay out of this for a bit. It might give Bunning a good reason to back out of the race, more so than just Mongiardo. Bunning, the rational one that he is... Might think, hey, I beat him once, I can do it again. Hopefully we can get a multi-Republican primary in which Bunning survives, and the Chandler might be able to pop in.

Granted, wouldn't Chandler running almost guarantee a lose of that Kentucky House seat? Its fairly Conservative.

Which is exactly why
Conway should run instead.  

[ Parent ]
nope, as I've already explained
its heavily Democratic on a state level and would have voted for Clinton. Its packed with every liberal area outside of Louisville and contains lots of rural areas that still vote Dem on a local level. Its packed full of almost nothing but Democratic legislators too.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
I take it you are assuming after 2000 redistricting
because If my memory serves me right the previous holder of this seat was former governor Fletcher
and the old PVI is R+7

so it takes the right kind of Dem to win here.

Male 21 Dem Ca's 1st  

[ Parent ]
... but anything can happen.  Joe Cao can win LA-02.  Better not to take the risk if we can avoid it.  Tho' if Chandler's presence would definitively scare Grayson out, while not scaring Bunning out, then I wouldn't mind.

[ Parent ]
But what happens
if a 'Lexington' liberal wins the Dem primary for that district? Its not like the Louisville based one. Alot of those rural Dems wouldnt take too kindly to a liberal. From what id gather, anyway.

[ Parent ]
I doubt there are many elected liberals anyway, even in Lexington
And in Kentucky there are a ton of registered DINOS who vote in Dem primaries, making it harder for a liberal to slip through.

[ Parent ]
Expected better numbers from Mongiardo
Surprised Conway outperforms him by a significant amount.  I don't think Chandler will run this time (maybe against McConnell in 2014?  Who knows?)

Yeah these are Santorum numbers.  Either way, Bunning is out of the Senate after 2010.

Bunning Not Running
Unfortunately, I think this is all a lot of meaningless mellodrama.  By this time next year, I fully expect that Bunning will have dropped out of the race.  I hope that I am wrong, though.


party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
The GOP needs to play hardball with Bunning
McConnell needs to threaten him with not seating him in the GOP caucus come Jan. 2011 should Bunning somehow pull off an upset. Thatd leave Bunning with no committee posts and no real power. But, maybe itd backfire and just make the old man even angrier and more defiant. Sometimes that can happen. And Im guessing McConnell knows him better than anyone else.

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