Mitch McConnell Widens Lead Over Alison Lundergan Grimes In New Poll

A Saturday Bluegrass Poll gives Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) the edge in one of the tightest Senate races in the nation, with just over two months left before the November midterm election.

The incumbent McConnell leads Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) by 4 points in the race to represent Kentucky in the U.S. Senate, according to the poll, in which 569 likely Kentucky voters were surveyed. Grimes was leading in Bluegrass Polls until a July release had McConnell ahead by 2 percentage points.

The Senate minority leader's 4-point lead falls within the poll's 4.2-point margin of error.

Unsurprisingly, McConnell is largely favored in rural parts of the state, while Grimes carries a safe lead in bluer areas like Louisville, where she's ahead by 7 points. Grimes does better among poor and middle-class voters, maintaining double-digit margins: Of those polled, likely voters with an income of less than $40,000 favored Grimes by 17 points. McConnell, by comparison, has a 12-point lead among voters earning more than $80,000.

The incumbent and challenger are in a dead heat for women's support. The Democratic challenger is ahead by only 1 percentage point among female voters, and McConnell leads among male voters by 10 points. When asked which candidate would improve the lives of women, respondents chose Grimes by a 21-point margin.

The Grimes campaign expressed continued confidence in its candidate's chances come November, highlighting Grimes' resilience in the face of major spending by the opposing campaign. Her campaign also noted that the poll was conducted prior to news of McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton's resignation amid revelations of possible ties to a bribery scandal, and the release of audio from a secret Koch brothers gathering.

"After facing a barrage of more than $30 million in spending from Mitch McConnell and his allies, our campaign remains well within the margin of error against the 30-year Washington incumbent," the campaign said in a statement Saturday. "Today's poll reflects how close we are to winning the race, however it does not reflect the tornado of bad news that has upended Senator McConnell's campaign this week, including a secret tape and a bribery scandal that resulted in the resignation of his campaign manager. We remain strongly positioned to win due to our superior candidate and first-class grassroots organization."

McConnell's campaign saw good news in the results, pointing to the uptick in support for the senator as the election approaches.

"It's becoming more clear the closer we get to the election that voters want a proven leader like Senator McConnell who delivers for Kentucky rather than an inexperienced liberal who is just another vote for the Obama agenda," McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore told the Courier-Journal in a statement.

This article has been updated with additional analysis from the survey regarding McConnell's standing among higher-income groups.



Senate Seats Up For Grabs In 2014