Mitch McConnell May Still Have a 2014 Fight on His Hands

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 28 2013 12:47 PM

Mitch McConnell May Still Have a 2014 Fight on His Hands

169194514
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks after a weekly Senate Republican caucus meeting on May 21, 2013

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Things were supposed to get easier for Mitch McConnell after Ashley Judd announced earlier this year that she wouldn't challenge him for his seat in 2014. While some GOP insiders had expressed optimism that they would have been able to turn Judd into "the liberal Democrat version of Todd Akin," Karl Rove and co.'s preemptive strikes against the actress-turned-activist made it clear that they viewed her as a formidable challenger, no doubt in large part due to her perceived ability to garner national media attention and to bring in large amounts of cash from outside of the state.

Judd's March announcement that she'd remain on the sidelines was seen as a substantial victory for McConnell's re-election chances. While that may be true, a new poll out today suggests the sitting senator may still have a fight on his hands come 2014. Here's Public Policy Polling with the details from the survey they conducted on behalf of a Democratic super PAC:

A new Public Policy Polling survey of Kentucky finds Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes tied in a hypothetical match up at 45%. McConnell’s early positive advertising has done nothing to improve his prospects for reelection and in fact this is the actually the weakest position PPP has found him in yet. In April we found him leading Grimes by 4 points and in December he had a 7 point advantage over her. ...
McConnell continues to be unpopular with 44% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove. His numbers are even worse with independents, only 41% of whom think he’s doing a good job while 53% give him poor marks. Grimes, on the other hand, has a positive 34/24 favorability rating.
Advertisement

Grimes, currently Kentucky's secretary of state, doesn't have the national profile that Judd does, but she has already proved successful at the state level, beating an incumbent Democrat in a 2011 primary on her way to a general election victory that November. She is also the daughter of Jerry Lundergan, the former state party chairman, which was likely one reason Democratic officials were in no hurry to simply hand the Senate nomination over to Judd earlier this year. As you probably noticed, however, PPP includes a "hypothetical" disclaimer. That's because Grimes hasn't actually jumped in the race yet. If and when she does, she'll feel the full force of a GOP establishment that will be eager to protect McConnell's seat in a state that President Obama lost by more than 20 points last year.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?