Op-Ed: Alison Lundergan Grimes leads Mitch McConnell, says internal poll Special

Posted Sep 10, 2014 by John Presta
In an internal poll campaign poll conducted by pollster Mark Mellman and obtained by the subscription service of Politico Pro, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 43 percent to 42 percent.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell  a Republican  is being challenged by Kentucky Secretary of S...
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, is being challenged by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, for U.S. Senate. A victory by Grimes could derail the chances of Republicans taking over the U.S. Senate.
Alison Lundergan Grime for Senate
This poll indicates that the race is far from over and that the U.S. Kentucky Senate race remains in play. The poll was made available to the Digital Journal and was a live-caller survey of 800 likely voters from Sept. 4 to 7, in the field Thursday through Sunday, using a registration-based sample and included landlines and cellphones. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.
More astonishing, is that fifteen percent of likely voters remain undecided going into the final eight weeks, the Mellman poll shows. Grimes also leads among independents by 10 points. The survey did not include the libertarian in the race.
“In short, Grimes narrowly leads what is an essentially tied race,” Mellman writes in a memo to the Grimes campaign. Mark Mellman is the same pollster that called Sen. Harry Reid’s race in 2010, and he correctly predicted Reid’s margin of victory, when all the public polls showed the majority leader tied with or trailing his Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle.
The internal poll disputes an NBC/Marist poll, which is Republican leaning, published Sunday which had McConnell up 8 points. More significant, a CNN poll posted last week had him leading by 4 points, within the the margin of error, therefore a dead heat.
Mellman believes those two polls don’t capture the depth of McConnell’s unpopularity and expresses confidence that the undecideds will break for the challenger late — even if President Barack Obama is unpopular.
McConnell’s approval rating in this poll is 32 percent, with 61 percent disapproving. Grimes’ approval as Kentucky secretary of state is 38 percent, with 39 percent disapproving.
On personal favorability, Grimes shows to be above water, and McConnell is "upside-down." McConnell is viewed favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 47 percent. Grimes is viewed favorably by 41 percent and unfavorably by 36 percent.
Mellman believes Grimes has the "intensity" advantage over the three-decade incumbent McConnell: 35 percent also say they support her “strongly,” compared with only 30 percent who say they support McConnell "strongly." Grimes is up 9 points among those who say they know both of the candidates.
Grimes has a 9-point edge on the questions of which candidate “will work to create good jobs” and “protect Social Security and Medicare.” Mellman found these negatives with McConnell: opposition to raising the minimum wage, been in office too long and support of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
“While the incumbent remains better-known, Grimes is better-liked by those who know each,” Mellman said. “With Grimes now in a position to better keep pace with the GOP’s television onslaught, this race could hardly be closer and will go down to the wire.”
“We’ve been right when these public polls have been wrong,” he said. “I’m more confident in our methods than I am what the public polls are doing.”