In an election year hinging on a handful of remarkably close Senate races, recent surveys are reaching something of a consensus on Kentucky. Three polls released in the last week show Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) with a 4- or 5-point edge over Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) among likely voters.
A CNN/ORC live-caller poll released Wednesday gave McConnell 50 percent to Grimes' 46 percent, while an automated Rasmussen poll released the same day put McConnell ahead 46 percent to 41 percent. A third poll, released this past weekend by SurveyUSA, had McConnell up 46 percent to 42 percent.
CNN found reasons for caution for both candidates in its poll: McConnell, a chief Democratic target this year, is ahead but that lead is still within the poll's margin of error, while Grimes is hamstrung by President Barack Obama's dismal approval ratings in her state and the 16 percent of Democrats leaning toward McConnell. There's also limited room for either candidate to improve: 77 percent of voters told CNN they've already made up their minds.
The two campaigns had differing interpretations of the latest numbers, per WHAS-TV reporter Joe Arnold:
HuffPost Pollster's Senate model gives McConnell a slim advantage, with a current lead of just under 3 points, and about a 60 percent chance of winning, not significantly better than a coin flip:
CNN's survey used live phone interviewers to reach 671 likely voters on landlines and cell phones between Aug. 28 and Sept. 1. Rasmussen used automated phone calls to reach 750 likely voters between Sept. 1 and Sept. 2. SurveyUSA used automated phone calls and an online questionnaire to reach 569 likely voters between Aug. 25 and Aug. 27.