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Poll shows Beshear with 16-point lead over Cameron in Ky. governor’s race

The Kentucky State Capitol building
Wikimedia Commons
Tedd Liggett
The Kentucky State Capitol building

A new poll shows Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear with a double-digit lead over Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron in Kentucky's race for governor. The survey was conducted a little more than a month before Election Day.

Of the 450 Kentucky voters surveyed Oct. 1-3, 49% said they would vote for Beshear if the election were held that day. Only 33% said they would vote for Cameron, with 13% still undecided.

The poll was conducted by the independent, nonpartisan Emerson College and FOX 56.

Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said Beshear has been able to differentiate himself from national Democratic figures, who remain unpopular in Kentucky.

“While Biden is an unpopular figure among Kentucky voters, Beshear has been able to separate himself from the president: he holds a 66% approval rating within his own party, and a 34% approval among both independent and Republican voters,” he said.

With a +/- 4.6% margin of error, the results represent the largest lead for Beshear in a publicly released poll during the race. Several polls released since Cameron and Beshear won their nominations have shown Beshear in the lead. An August survey showed Beshear with an eight point lead and one in July showed him ahead by 10 points.

Republicans have questioned the accuracy of the Emerson poll. Sean Southard, spokesperson for Cameron, pointed to another Emerson College poll ahead of the GOP primary earlier this year that showed Cameron with 33% of the vote. He went on to win the primary with 48%.

“Daniel Cameron will win November 7,” Southard said. “Kentuckians are tired of the Biden/Beshear agenda that has given them record high inflation, rising crime, and an open southern border.”

Some political watchers have been skeptical of polling firms’ ability to survey Kentucky accurately, pointing to polls ahead of the 2015 gubernatorial election and 2014 U.S. Senate race that over-predicted support for Democratic candidates.

In the poll released Friday, 5% of likely voters said they would vote for “someone else,” although there are no third-party candidates on Kentucky’s gubernatorial ballot this year.

Another poll released by the conservative Club for Growth PAC and WPA Intelligence this week showed Beshear with a six point lead, but indicated Cameron had gained support among undecided voters as Beshear’s support remained steady.

Emerson College has an “A-” rating as a pollster from the political analysis website WPA Intelligence scored a “B/C” ranking.

The Emerson College poll also showed that 43.5% of those polled approve of Beshear’s job performance while about 28% disapprove; the rest were neutral.

Sylvia is Kentucky Public Radio's Capitol reporter. Email her at
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