Public Policy Polling recently completed their polls in Kentucky.
Senate Minority Leader and respected turtle Mitch McConnell remains one of the most unpopular Senators in the country. Public Policy Polling found that his favorability was 36/54. McConnell threw a hissy fit the last time Public Policy Polling released its polls from Kentucky which showed that Ashley Judd had a chance to knock him out of the Senate. Private polls confirmed what PPP found and McConnell continued to fume over his unpopularity, I presume. McConnell is more popular among Republicans, 53/34, but even then 46% of GOP primary voters say they would put him as their Senate nominee in 2014 compared to 32% who say they would want someone who is more conservative. McConnell does much better against a named foe as he trounces Congressman Thomas Massie 56-18 in a hypothetical match-up. Regardless, McConnell's low favorability numbers leave him vulnerable not only in a potential primary match-up but against a Democrat in 2014.
Credit where credit is due, McConnell and his team did a nice job attacking Ashley Judd. Judd saw her favorability fall from 42/36 in December to 34/41. A good decision by Judd not to run in 2014. McConnell might have more challengers come out of the woodwork. In the hypothetical match-ups Public Policy Polling did, McConnell led in all of them but had some troubles. Former Congressman Ben Chandler (25/34) trails McConnell by only 5 points at this time 46-41. It's conceivable if Chandler were to run that he could make it fairly close against the Senate Minority Leader. An even more impressive challenge could come from Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (28/22). She trails Senator McConnell by 4 points, 45-41. After Judd decided not to run, Lundergan Grimes becamse the presumptive favorite to be the Democratic nominee in 2014. This could be an interesting race. At this point, I would say it's leaning Republican. But this could definitely be a very close race in 2014.
Rand Paul has become the favorite Kentucky Senator, 42% of Kentuckians say they have a higher opinion of him compared to 24% saying the same thing for McConnell. Paul's favorability is 46/31. If there is going to be a Democratic challenge to him in 2016, it would probably need to be Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (48/31). In a head to head matchup, Paul leads Beshear by 4 points, 46-42. Paul reaches a critical threshold in a hypothetical match-up against Ashley Judd leading 51-40. If Beshear runs, Kentuckians are split 40-40 on if they want a Democrat or Republican as their next governor.
That could all be for naught as Paul might be eying the 2016 Presidential nomination. Even though only 30% of Kentuckians think he should run in 2016 for the presidency. Republicans are more likely to think he should run for the presidency.
Hillary Clinton (45/43) is tied with Paul in a hypothetical head to head match-up against Paul 45-45. This is pretty impressive considering President Obama has a 35/62 favorability in Kentucky right now. Clinton is likely to beat Marco Rubio (34/26) if the 2016 ballot went that way, as she leads currently 46-40.
Kentuckians are split 46-46 on if they support or oppose Congress passing stricter gun laws. This falls along traditonal ideological and party lines on the support for gun control. Women (55/36) are more likely to support stricter gun laws than men (36/57). Also, non-whites (68/27) more likely to support stricter gun laws than whites (44/48). This is consistent with what we see over most states.
Despite the rise in popularity for same sex marriage nationally, Kentuckians are not supportive of same sex marriage. Only 27% of Kentuckians believe it should be legal compared to 65% who say it is illegal. But like in most Southern states, there is slight support for civil unions. Given this option, 23% say same sex marriage should be allowed, 29% say same sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions, while 44% say there should be no legal recognition of same sex couples. Even among Democrats in Kentucky, same sex marriage is not very popular, only 37% of Kentucky Democrats think it should be allowed. The majority of Republicans (55%) think there should be no legal recognition for same sex couples.
The baseball team to root for in Kentucky is the Cincinnati Reds (38%). Not surprising as I believe it is the closest team and they've been getting better. Additionally, they have two of my favorite baseball players in the league in Aroldis Chapman and Joey Votto. The 2nd most popular team of the ones they listed were the Cardinals (9%), followed by the Braves and Cubs (7% each). Men are more likely to root for the Reds (43%) than women (33%). Women (12%) are more likely to root for the Cardinals than men (6%). Those who consider themselves very conservative (37%) are more likely to say they don't root for the Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Reds, Indians, Yankees, or Cardinals. So who they root for? That's the biggest question from this poll. Oh and those who consider themselves very liberal (18%) like the Braves more than the normal percentages. My assumption is this is entirely based upon the fact that TBS hosted all of the Braves games and TBS has better shows than WGN so you naturally start rooting for them. Or that Greg Maddux brainwashed people into being very liberal.*
*I have no idea about Greg Maddux's political affiliations are. He looks like a stereotypical intellectual liberal, though. Although he more or less succeeded with second rate stuff and showed that if you just work hard enough you can be successful. Damnit. Now I'm confused. One could argue, as it was in a movie, that groundballs are communist. Greg Maddux's pitching has affected me greatly, as you can tell.
72% of Kentuckians consider themselves Southerners while 22% do not. Liberals are less likely to consider themselves Southerners. 61% of Kentuckians have a favorable impression of Louisville while 67% have a favorable opinion of Lexington. I have no impressions of either of these cities except that the University of Louisville's basketball stadium is named the Yum! Center. Which is a terrible name. I think I was in Lexington once. I can't remember. My fond memories of Kentucky involve Mammoth Cave.