Released Monday, the survey had Sen. Mitch McConnell up 43-42 over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. The previous Bluegrass Poll put Grimes out front, 46-44. Both surveys were well within the margin of error.
The new poll “confirms yet again that the 15-month campaign plan from which we have never wavered has Alison poised for a narrow but decisive victory on November 4th,” said a Monday statement from Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst.
He added, “Since the last Bluegrass poll, Mitch McConnell and his allies have outspent our side by nearly $3 million, lying about Alison and her record, and they have nothing but a statistical dead heat (and the further cementing of McConnell’s mid-40’s ceiling) to show for it.
“McConnell and his allies have spent a whopping $50 million trashing Grimes and yet today we stand deadlocked just 15 days out.”
The survey of 655 likely voters also had Libertarian David Patterson with five percent.
“The poll shows that McConnell is in the fight of his political life despite being the most powerful Republican in the Senate and likely to take over as the Senate majority leader if he wins re-election and the GOP can win control of the Senate,” wrote Joseph Gerth in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Bluegrass State’s largest newspaper.
Team Switch dismissed the previous Bluegrass Poll an “outlier.” So did some Washington pundits and political science professors in Kentucky and elsewhere.
Hurst countered that the current poll “confirms what we learned in the previous Bluegrass poll—that there has been a fundamental shift in the race since late August when McConnell led by 4 points, represented by a substantial swing to Grimes that has her tied or enjoying a slight lead.
“Even the right-wing Gravis poll last week showed Alison gaining 7 points since their September 16th survey, with huge pickups amongst the key independent demographic.”
Hurst charged that Team Mitch “is still pushing bad data in hopes of feeding a media narrative that the race is slipping away. That may be working with some DC outlets, but once again, the disconnect between Beltway punditry and the reality on the ground is vast.
“McConnell’s two latest data points do nothing but prove that this race is tied for the incumbent, at best. To wit: the Fox News poll touted by Republicans in early October had McConnell up four points, but as FiveThirtyEight noted of that poll, controlling for the GOP-leaning house effect of Fox polling, the actual result would be McConnell +0.4% — a pure coin flip.”
Hurst also took exception to the numbers in the recently-released Republican-leaning Rasmussen poll, which put McConnell on top 52 to 44.
The liberal Daily Kos website derides Rasmussen as “the House of Ras.” Hurst claimed the Rasmussen survey “was riddled with so many errors and flawed assumptions it’s barely worth rebutting.”
Hurst’s statement also said that “McConnell’s numbers remain dangerously low for an incumbent” though “McConnell partisans will point to a year’s worth of public polling showing the majority having McConnell in the lead.” Those numbers don’t matter, he added, “given that the fundamental shift shows Alison pulling into the lead or tied and McConnell stuck in neutral with momentum on our side.”
In addition, Hurst said Team Switch “remains in an extremely strong financial position…The campaign recently released yet another record-breaking 3rd quarter fundraising haul, announcing nearly $4.4 million cash-on-hand for the sprint down the stretch. That amount is more than any Democrat holds in any competitive 2014 U.S. Senate race that remains in play.”