I simply cannot believe that Mitch McConnell only holds a measly 1 point lead over Alison Lundergan Grimes in the latest Bluegrass Poll. The reason is the simple fact that she has now alienated her base. Turnout on election day among her base may be dismal because of her recent stumbles on Obama and Immigration. Polls are nice but polls are hypothetical and when you factor in the emotional factor polls do not and cannot tell the whole story.
Lets break down the numbers:
- McConnell leads by 1 among Women Voters - 44% to 43%
Women voters are the key as they make up the majority of the electorate. If Grimes loses the Women vote...she loses. That simple.
- Grimes leads by 1 among likely voters 18 to 34 - 41% to 40%.
Amazingly undecided voters in this age group, which is the bread and butter for those that may lean left of center, chimes in at a whopping 17%. That means they are alienated and when voters among this age group are alienated THEY WILL NOT VOTE. And traditionally this age group is the most lazy when it comes to actually voting. Grimes needs a GREAT not a good turnout among this age group to pad her totals on election day.
- McConnell leads by 4 among the Baby Boomer generation - 48% to 44%
This is showing that Baby Boomers are not rallying behind Grimes. She needs a split with Baby Boomers, or, she loses, period.
- 17% of Black voters are undecided.
I think we know why 17% of African American voters are still undecided. Grimes made a horrible tactical error with her non answer debacle on Obama. This means, at this time, that we may not see an overwhelming turnout of African American voters in Louisville and Lexington on election day. If they fail to show up the she loses. Period.
- Grimes leads McConnell by 21 among Moderate Voters.
This is one of the only bright spots for Alison Lundergan Grimes in this poll. If a candidate overwhelmingly carries the Moderate vote in Kentucky then that candidate has a great shot at victory. This total is the reason Grimes polled only 1% down to McConnell, period. But one concern is the 10% undecided among Moderates. This could spell trouble for Grimes on election day. If McConnell gains the majority of undecided Moderates he wins, period.
- Grimes is holding her own in Rural Kentucky
Western Louisvill North C Eastern
McConnell 53% 36% 43% 47%
Lundergan Grimes 39% 50% 43% 37%
This is another possible bright spot for Grimes. If she holds within 10% in Western KY (down 14% at this time) and under 10% in Eastern KY she has a great shot but she should be concerned with her numbers in North Central Kentucky. If she gets drilled in Rural Kentucky and loses North Central by 5% or more, and considering her alienated base in Lousiville, she loses, period. Eastern KY also polled 12% undecided, this is direct result of the main issue in the East and that is coal. They simply do not trust her on Coal, for good reason.
- McConnell has 20% of the Democratic Party vote.
We discussed the "old" traditional numbers with regard the required totals a GOP candidate must receive in Kentucky to achieve victory. The "old" numbers were 75% Republican and at least 25% Democrat with a split among Independents. However this may be an "old" rule as more and more Kentuckians are identifying themselves with the Republican party. The required Democratic Party vote totals for the GOP candidate has shrunk, probably to around 22% or lower.
McConnell has 78% Republican, 20% Democrat and 30% of the Independent vote with a whopping 24% of Independents undecided. This could spell big trouble for McConnell as it is clear this huge number of undecided Independents is a result of the anti McConnell sentiment that runs deep in Kentucky. Its a McConnell problem not a Grimes problem but she hasn't won them over, as of yet. This is yet another possible bright spot for Grimes as the majority of undecided Independents may cast a vote for Grimes on election day. I truly think that if McConnell hasn't won them over by now he never will.
- McConnell has a dismal 24% approval rating among Independents.
This reinforces our analysis above. If McConnell hasn't won Independents over by now he never will. If this race goes to the wire and we have a lower than expected turnout the Independent vote will be hugely important. If its sunny on election day and we have a 65% plus turnout then not so much.
- Grimes has a dismal 23% approval rating among Independents.
Like we wrote earlier, Grimes has not won over the Independents as of yet but I can guarantee that they are more pissed at McConnell than they are at Grimes.
- McConnell has a dismal 27% approval rating among Moderates
The Moderate vote has traditionally been the most important of all in Kentucky. Its no real surprise that McConnell's approval rating among Moderates is in the cellar but if they turnout in droves for Grimes she has a great shot.
- Grimes has a 37% disapproval rating in Louisville
We can analyze poll numbers until be pass out from total exhaustion but in Kentucky these polls rarely turnout to be a true roll of the bones. Parts of these polls can paint an accurate picture of what may happen on election day.
The feeling among Moderates and the voters in Louisville are, in my opinion, some of the most important. Grimes must carry Louisville and carry it big to win because she will not carry Rural Kentucky and GOP strongholds in Northern Kentucky ensures that McConnell will hold his own in that region.
At this time 10% of Louisville voters are undecided. If we evenly allocate the undecideds among McConnell and Grimes the totals would be 55% Grimes and 41% McConnell. If there is a heavy turnout in Louisville that may be enough for a Grimes victory. However, the African American vote will decide it all for Grimes in Louisville and as we know she has likely alienated her African American base with her Obama gaffe and likely alienated her Liberal base as well for a multitude of reasons. So in short Louisville may stay home on election day and if Louisville stays home then she loses, period.