Those trendlines are pretty ancient (more than half a year old), yet little seems to have changed since last September. These numbers look quite good for incumbent Dem Steve Beshear, and in fact aren't too far off from PPP's late October survey. One note of caution, though, is that Braun's Kentucky polls were fairly favorable to Dems last cycle; their final KY-Sen numbers showed Rand Paul up seven (he won by 11.5).
Braun didn't test the GOP primary, but state Senate President David Williams (running on a ticket with the perfectly named Ag. Comm'r Richie Farmer) is widely considered to be the frontrunner. In an internal poll from last month, Williams' ticket took 47% to just 9% for teabagging businessman Phil Moffett and 10% for Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw, the only woman in the race. We haven't seen any other responsive internals which might contradict this one... though hope always springs eternal. Still, don't hold your breath for too long - the Hotline takes a long look at the many ways in which Moffett's candidacy differs from Paul's, and I'm inclined to agree with most of them. In particular, note that Paul himself says he won't endorse in the primary.
This poll also included a test of the Kentucky Attorney General's race, which gives us a good chance to check up on our old buddy Jack Conway:
Conway looks to have a very nice lead over Vulcan ambassador Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool. P'Pool was more of a second choice after SoS Trey Grayson, who lost the 2010 GOP senate primary to (of course) Rand Paul), decided Harvard was a better fit for him than the Bluegrass State.
John Adler (D-inc): 41 (31)
Jon Runyan (R): 39 (25)
Peter DeStefano (I): 6 (4)
Undecided: 14 (34)
Braun offers a number of alternative takes on these numbers, including a sample of just registered voters (which included a "not voting" option), in which Adler beats donkey-powered ex-NFLer Jon Runyan by 40-31. Also note that before including tea-stained indie Peter DeStefano in the mix, Braun tested the race as between Adler, Runyan, and a "Third Party" option; in that match-up, Adler beats Runyan by 44-38. It's interesting that once a name is plugged into the Third Party column, a dent is made in Adler's margin. It would help if some of these teabaggers were a little more notorious...
Meanwhile, Braun also polled the Senate race, and finds that Jack Conway has a 47-41 lead on Rand Paul in the 6th CD. Unfortunately, Braun didn't test the Senate race in their July poll of this district, so no trend lines there. (Though note that Braun's last statewide poll had Paul leading Conway by 10% in the 6th, but of course the standard caveats about high-MoE sub-samples apply here.) You've got to figure that this is a must-win district for Conway this fall.
John Yarmuth (D-inc): 53 (52)
Todd Lally (R): 30 (29)
Michael Hansen (I): 5 (1)
Ed Martin (L): 1 (-)
Undecided: 12 (17)
Good stuff for sophomore Dem Rep. John Yarmuth here - certainly a much better outlook than that SurveyUSA poll projected earlier this month (which claimed that Yarmuth only had a 2% edge).
Bonus finding: Jack Conway leads Rand Paul by 51-39 in the 3rd District. This is one district where Conway will need to find a way to run up the score (Bruce Lunsford won Jefferson County by over 11% against Mitch McConnell in 2008).
Jack Conway (D): 37 (42)
Rand Paul (R): 42 (41)
Undecided: 20 (16)
Braun Research continues their biweekly polling odyssey of Kentucky with a freshly-baked survey showing Rand Paul bouncing back to a five-point lead. For those keeping score, these cn|2 polls have bounced back and forth, from 3 and 10-point Paul leads in their first two rounds, to a 1-point lead for Conway two weeks ago.
I'm not too sure if you can stitch together a narrative from high-MoE sub-samples like these, but it's still interesting:
Paul picked up support from the last poll in Conway's two stronghold areas from the primary, including his backyard of the 3rd Congressional District that covers Louisville. The cn|2 Poll shows Paul leading Conway by 10 points in the 6th Congressional District that covers Lexington and Central Kentucky.
The poll results for congressional districts has a margin of error of about 8.8 points in this cn|2 Poll.
Conway has narrowed previous gaps in the 2nd Congressional District in west-central Kentucky from eight to four points. And support for the Democratic candidate has swung 17 points in the 5th Congressional District - which covers Eastern Kentucky - over the last two weeks. He went from being down three points to going up 14 points in this latest poll.
This is the second poll in a row where Braun found Conway surging in the Eastern 5th CD. A month ago, Conway trailed Paul by 14% in that district, and now leads by the same margin. Are we seeing the effect of Rand Paul's call to pull federal funds from local anti-drug initiatives (a particularly salient issue in Eastern Kentucky) at play here? While still respecting that portly margin of error, I'm guessing so.
Steve Beshear (D-inc): 44
David Williams (R): 38
Steve Beshear (D-inc): 49
Phil Moffett (R): 29
By a 44-36 margin, voters say that Beshear deserves a second term. Considering the carnage we're seeing for other incumbent Dem governors this year, those numbers could be a lot worse. Nevertheless, this should be a very competitive race, although likely less so if the tea-flavored ticket led by businessman Phil Moffett can win the primary against state Senate leader David Williams. Remember -- this off-year race is only a year away!
One red flag about this, though, is that I suspect that Braun is using the same likely voter sample for the Senate race as for the Governor's race. Perhaps two separate samples would have yielded similar results, but I don't think this is the most methodologically precise approach.
For their part, the Williams campaign has released an internal poll taken by some firm called Got-Focus, showing Beshear down by 4.
Jack Conway (D): 42 (31)
Rand Paul (R): 41 (41)
cn|2 is reporting this one as a tie, and it essentially is -- down to decimal points, Conway leads by a margin of 41.7 to 41.2 for the rogue ophthalmologist. (Update: Not that we think it's legit to go to so many significant digits...)
Rand Paul's campaign is questioning Braun for its gyrating results, but cn|2 notes that other results from the last two polls, such as Obama's approval (40%) and the generic ballot (a 12-point GOP advantage), have been consistent. Perhaps the shift is legit, and perhaps it could be explained in part by Paul's controversial comments on how the illicit drug trade in Kentucky is not a "real pressing issue" and that federal funding for anti-drug initiatives should be pulled. That sort of talk didn't go over too well with law enforcement officials in Eastern Kentucky, where the problem is particularly pronounced; it's worth noting that the Congressional District with the biggest jump in support for Conway was the Eastern 5th CD. Conway trailed in that district by 24-38 two weeks ago, and now trails by only 38-42. (Yes, the usual caveat about obese margins of error applies for small sub-samples like these.)
Braun Research for the Rutgers-Eagleton Institute of Politics (8/5-8, registered voters, no trend lines):
John Adler (D-inc): 31
Jon Runyan (R): 25
Peter DeStefano (I): 4
Not Voting: 6
John Adler (D-inc): 35
Jon Runyan (R): 28
Not Voting: 13
The eggheads at Rutgers are out this week with a new poll of New Jersey's 3rd CD, the first poll of this race since John Adler released an internal last month claiming a 51-34 lead over the ex-Eagle Runyan, with 12% going to independent teabagger Peter DeStefano. That poll drew howls of protest from the Runyan campaign, who didn't believe that DeStefano, a man who appears to be in the Witness Protection Program (as no one can seem to be able to track him down), could be winning a double digit-sized share of the vote.
Much has been made of the fact that, zomg, Runyan holds a 36-35 lead among those who are "paying the most attention to the campaign", but the more interesting statistic from this poll is that, among those who say they are likely to vote (n=351), Adler holds a 40-30 lead over Runyan -- or a 36-26 lead with DeStefano in the mix. That's the opposite result you'd expect in a year where Republican enthusiasm has been shown to be more intense than that of Democrats, but it's also probably true that Braun wasn't pushing undecideds off the fence with as much force as other pollsters.
My own thoughts on this race are that Adler should've be a pretty appealing target for the GOP to turn into a one-term wonder, but they certainly gave him a fighting chance by relying on a B-list candidate in Runyan to get the job done.
John Yarmuth (D-inc): 52
Todd Lally (R): 29
Michael Hansen (I): 1
The class of 2006 and 2008 represent some of the best targets for Republicans to shoot for this fall, but we at least we can feel pretty good about John Yarmuth's chances at a third term in his Louisville-based district. And that's good to hear, as Yarmuth is a great representative who's proven to be a solid fit for his district -- his approval rating according to this poll is 62-32.
In an interview with cn|2, Lally's campaign manager pushed back at the poll's results, in part by claiming that "we've already had independent polls that are closer". That's a pretty curious thing to say, considering that the only other polls of this race that have been released this cycle, according to SSP Archives & Storage, were a Yarmuth internal that pegged the race at 58-32, and Lally internal from the obscure Rivercity Polling group which claimed that Yarmuth only had a 1-point lead on Lally. Surely the Lally campaign isn't suggesting that their own pollster, who produced the outlier in this triad of surveys, should be considered an independent source?
Ben Chandler (D-inc): 46
Andy Barr (R): 32
This is the second poll we've seen of the race between Democrat Ben Chandler and Lexington attorney Andy Barr. Back in June, the Barr campaign released their own poll conducted by the Tarrance Group showing Chandler in the lead by 45-38. For their part, Chandler's campaign isn't releasing any of their own polling, but told Roll Call that they had a "strong double-digit lead" in June.
The warning sign for Chandler here is his standing under the 50% line given the fact that it's unlikely that the name "Andy Barr" is seared into the memory of many area residents. Chandler has a real race on his hands, but he should be able to retain his advantage if he stays on his toes. One telling statistic is that voters side with Chandler over Barr on the issue of government spending by a 45-41 margin -- that's not the greatest spread, but certainly an indication of some residual trust that Chandler's built up in a fairly conservative district.