Public Policy Polling — who performed as well as any firm in the country in last month’s election — released their poll of Kentucky voters today, showing Sen. Mitch McConnell as unpopular and vulnerable in his 2014 reelection campaign, but still leading potential challengers.
McConnell’s approval rating is only 37 percent, with his disapproval rating at a robust 55 percent. These numbers are slightly worse than what PPP found last September, when McConnell was at 37/50. PPP says that he is the most unpopular senator in the country among whom they have polled.
Despite these numbers, McConnell still leads the potential 2014 Democratic challengers that PPP put him up against head-to-head:
McConnell 47, Jerry Abramson 43
McConnell 47, Ashley Judd 43
McConnell 47, Jack Conway 43
McConnell 46, Greg Fischer 41
McConnell 47, Alison Lundergan Grimes 40
McConnell 48, John Yarmuth 38
McConnell 48, Matthew Barzun 37
McConnell 48, Adam Edelen 36
PPP leaving Steve Beshear off this list, as well as a generic Democrat, is inexplicable, but based on these numbers it wouldn’t be surprising to see McConnell losing in those match ups. But the fact McConnell is already within single-digits of the likes of Judd and Grimes — maybe to only two people from this list who are seriously looking at the race — is not the type of news that he was looking for as he tries to rebound from last week’s self-filibuster embarrassment.
While a Republican primary challenger to McConnell has yet to emerge, PPP found that only half of Republicans wanted him to be their nominee, while 35 percent favor a Republican nominee who is “more conservative.” Adding to the less-than-overwhelming support from McConnell’s GOP base, Republicans give McConnell at 59/27 approval rating, which is a net 13 percent drop from last fall (64/20). While McConnell’s approvals were virtually unchanged with Democrats (23/73), he dropped a net 12 percent with Independents from last year to an unimpressive 33/58.
We’ll have much more to come once we dig into more of the numbers, including the Democrats who were polled, among which Ashley Judd emerged as the most popular choice among Democrats to challenge McConnell in 2014. Stay tuned…