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Polls: Republicans Lead All of Kentucky's Statewide Races; Paul Tops GOP Presidential Hopefuls

Jacob Ryan/WFPL

With just over four months until November’s election, a national pollster is calling Kentucky’s gubernatorial race a toss-up

Public Policy Polling released a poll Tuesday showing Republican Matt Bevin leading Democrat Jack Conway 38 to 35 percent, just over the poll’s 2.9 percent margin of error. Independent Drew Curtis received 6 percent support, but more than 20 percent of voters were undecided.

“The race for governor in Kentucky is pretty up for grabs,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, in a news release. “Voters aren’t that familiar with either candidate and as a result we’re seeing a lot more undecideds than we usually would at this stage of the race. This is one where the campaigns really will go a long way toward determining who wins rather than it being preordained from the start.”

Republicans also led in all down-ticket races, including Republican Steve Knipper leading incumbent Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes 47 to 42 percent. Republican state Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville leads Democrat Andy Beshear by 5 points, according to the poll, which surveyed 1,108 registered voters June 18-21.

Another poll released Wednesday by PPP shows Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul leading the field of Republican presidential candidates in the commonwealth with 19 percent support. Jeb Bush was the closest rival with 13 percent. The pollster indicated that six-point lead in his home state didn't bode well for Paul's chances of winning the GOP nomination.

“There doesn’t seem to be very broad enthusiasm for his candidacy even among the voters who know him best," Debnam said.

The only Republican candidate that lost to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head was Donald Trump. The other eight Republican hopefuls led Clinton in the poll.

Meanwhile, Tuesday's poll showed that Paul leads possible 2016 Senate challengers, Gov. Steve Beshear and Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen.

“Rand Paul will be a clear favorite for re-election if the Senate ends up being what he runs for next year,” Debnam said. “Even though Steve Beshear is the most popular politician in the state, that doesn’t translate to a Democrat winning a federal election in Kentucky.”

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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