A couple of months ago, we told you about the cabal of Louisville Leftists that is trying to goad actress Ashley Judd to run as an alternative to Kentucky’s senior senator, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The liberal-leaning Courier-Journal runs at least one scathing criticism per day against Sen. McConnell, and even commissioned a transparent push-poll, indicating that most Kentuckians would rather vote for anyone else on Earth, than the incumbent senator.
Well, today, some poll results were released from a nonpartisan survey, showing that Mitch would beat Ashley soundly; even if she decides to keep her clothes on during the campaign.
RunSwitch Public Relations, in conjunction with Harper Polling, conducted a survey on February 11-12 that tested several political and policy issues recently in the news and important to Kentucky voters. The survey asked questions of 850 likely Kentucky voters and had a margin of error of +/- 3.36%. The poll found Mitch McConnell leading Ashley Judd in a Senate matchup 49% to 40%.
“My takeaways from the survey are that Senator McConnell is in solid-shape among Republicans and general election voters, and that Ashley Judd, for someone who has never run for office, already has a tough hole out of which to climb regarding her own image,” said Scott Jennings, RunSwitch founding partner and former Deputy White House Political Director under President George W. Bush.
The survey found that 60% of Republican likely voters say McConnell deserves re-election, versus just 23% who say it is time to “give someone else a chance.” Inside the Republican voter sample, McConnell was in strong position among Seniors (70%), Very Conservative voters (65%), Somewhat Conservative voters (67%).
“They’ve covered their flank against those most likely to turnout in a GOP primary. It’s hard to imagine anyone popping up in a primary who could give McConnell trouble, particularly when you consider he has been endorsed by Senator Rand Paul,” Jennings said.
Speaking of Kentucky’s junior Senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate, he was viewed favorably by 46% of voters and unfavorably by 42%.
“In this political climate if you are a congressional incumbent and your image isn’t underwater you have reason to be happy,” Jennings said.
In a general election matchup, any Democrat has a significant headwind on the generic ballot. Just 37% of voters prefer a generic Democrat to 47% who prefer a generic Republican.
“This is the trend in Kentucky, where Republicans are gaining more and more ground in federal races,” Jennings said, noting that the state lost one of its two Democrat members of Congress in November and that President Obama received just 38% of the vote in November.
In the hypothetical head-to-head test, Senator McConnell led Judd 49% to 40%. Judd’s image in the survey (35% favorable to 45% unfavorable) presents a tough problem for the actress.
“This tells me that people know more about Ashley Judd’s politics than they would of your typical first timer,” Jennings said. “And in this case her politics are so closely aligned with President Obama’s that it is causing her problems,” Jennings said.
Inside the numbers, Judd actually ties McConnell among women (44% to 44%) but loses handily among men (54% to 36%). Additionally, 28% of Democrats said they plan to vote for McConnell.
“This is problematic for Judd but not surprising since so many Democrats did not vote for Obama in the primary and general elections in 2012 and 2008,” Jennings said. “Simply put, being aligned with Obama in Kentucky is just a millstone around a candidate’s neck.”
Also in the news recently was a much publicized web video promoted by the conservative Super PAC American Crossroads. The web video primarily attacked Judd for calling Tennessee home and for supporting President Obama’s agenda.
“We found that both attacks Crossroads leveled against Judd were effective,” Jennings said, “particularly the alignment with Obama and Judd calling herself a ‘radical.’”
On the issue of not living in the state, 40% of voters said they would be less likely to vote for Judd because of it, including 28% who said “much less likely.” As for Judd’s description of herself as “radical” and her support for President Obama, 48% said they would be less likely to vote for her including 40% who said much less likely.
“These message tests are important because they aren’t one candidate alleging something of another, but rather messages derived directly from actual video of a prospective candidate,” Jennings said. “Attacks are much more potent if they flow from a candidate’s own words.”
“We enjoy the chance to illuminate the political and public policy debates occurring in Kentucky and hope to continue to release polling on a semi-regular basis that sheds light on how issues are playing out in the public realm,” Jennings said.
The survey was not conducted for or in conjunction with any candidate or political organization engaged in the Kentucky U.S. Senate race.