Messing With Mitch, Part II

Last week I noted a surprise decision by the DSCC to devote more resources to the Kentucky Senate race, and wondered if it just reflected an irresistible temptation to mess with Mitch. Now we know there might have been a more objective reason (per TPM’s Sahil Kapur):

Democrat Alison Lunderdan Grimes has moved narrowly ahead of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the closely watched Kentucky Senate contest, according to a new Bluegrass Poll.

She leads McConnell by 46 to 44 percent with likely voters, the poll found.

That gap is within the survey’s margin of error, but it’s welcome news for Grimes after a series of polls showed McConnell with a consistent lead over his Democratic rival. According to the Bluegrass Poll, it’s a 6-point shift in the direction of Grimes since late August….

The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Courier-Journal, Louisville-based WHAS-TV and Lexington-based WKYT-TV.

This poll will likely be treated as an outlier by most observers, albeit one that reminds us this is a pretty close race by any measurement. It also contains one chronic seed of doubt that keeps Kentucky in the back of the mind as a late upset possibility:

Perhaps the most alarming number for McConnell is that 57 percent of registered voters surveyed said that after 30 years in office, it’s time for him to be replaced. That sentiment was shared by 33 percent of conservatives and 27 percent of Republicans.

If there is any hint of bipartisan anti-incumbent sentiment that makes itself known on November 4, Mitch McConnell is the most obvious target of it.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.