30 days ago I was skeptical if the possibility existed that Patterson could cost Alison Lundergan Grimes the election. Well, I am not so skeptical now. Anyone that has followed our weblog over the years know we have an amazing track record with regard to handicapping political races in Kentucky. We use mountains of data and inside information to formulate our predictions and our margin of error, historically, is less than 3%.
Well, according to the limited data we have today it appears that David Patterson could indeed cost Alison Lundergan Grimes the election. It will be a fact if he manages to obtain 4 to 5% of the total vote on election day. He is polling at a consistent 5% at the moment.
Our data is suggesting, and we will release our predictions soon, that the small but valuable Independent vote may cost Grimes a victory because the Independents are flocking to Patterson, as expected but I am concerned because Grimes's Independent support is tanking. We will get a better picture when more polling is released. We should see at least 2 more viable polls before election day.
As you can see in the graph above Alison Lundergan Grimes' support among Independents is dropping like a stone while McConnell's support among Independents has remained mostly static.
Our rough predictions are showing that we could have a replay of the 2004 U.S. Senate election were Jim Bunning narrowly defeated Daniel Mongiardo, 23,000 votes decided the race. If turnout is low in Western Kentucky, like we will predict will be the case, then it is possible that less than 20,000 votes may decide who is the victor.
Currently there are over 65,000 registered Independents in Kentucky. If there is a large turnout among Independents and Libertarians on election day, and we give Grimes 6% of the undecided Independents, and if we conclude that Patterson takes 80% of the Libertarian vote, then Patterson will have received just over 19,000 of those votes. And if Patterson wasn't in the race, and considering Grimes' polling among Independents before Patterson entered the race, then we can hypothesize that Grimes would have received at least 55 to 60% of the Independent vote on election day. We haven't even factored in the likely 1.5 to 2% of the Democratic Party vote that Patterson is expected to receive.
It is very close but Patterson will clearly cost Alison Lundergan Grimes at least 19,000 to 23,000 votes on election day. If we have a replay of 2004, and at this time it appears we may, then Mitch McConnell should send David Patterson a fruit basket because he will be responsible for a McConnell victory.