Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has widened his lead against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes to five points in Kentucky, according to a Bluegrass Poll released Thursday. Last week, the survey showed Grimes trailing McConnell by just one point -- an encouraging sign that led the Senate Democrats’ finance arm to reserve some $650,000 in airtime for Grimes. Earlier, Bluegrass Polls had Grimes leading by four points in February and by two points in September.
McConnell led Grimes 48 percent to 43 percent in the Bluegrass Poll released Thursday, the final survey before the Tuesday election. Kentucky was a state Democrats had hoped to flip. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned with Grimes on Thursday and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to be in Kentucky in support of the Democratic candidate on Saturday in Lexington -- her second appearance with Grimes.
Grimes leads McConnell among independents 37 percent to 35 percent, with 20 percent undecided, but the 23 percent support the Senate minority leader is receiving among Democrats is larger than the 8 percent of GOP voters who say they’ll cast their ballot for Grimes.
“The poll indicates McConnell appears to have largely brought Republicans together at the end he's also getting support from a segment of Democrats,” said Bill Bryant, the political editor for Lexington CBS affiliate WKYT, one of the Kentucky news outlets that the poll was conducted for. “Grimes has a short time to galvanize her base before Tuesday."
Thursday’s Bluegrass Poll surveyed 704 registered Kentucky voters and had a margin of error of 4.1 percent.
Last week’s poll showed Grimes leading McConnell 44 percent to 43 percent. It was one of the indications that led the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to reverse its decision to no longer fund Grimes’ campaign. An unnamed political strategist in Kentucky who spoke to MSNBC said the decision to cut off Grimes’ campaign from DSCC dollars was a mistake.
“There’s nothing on the ground that would validate this foolish decision,” the strategist said at the time.