Fresh off a big GOP primary win May 20, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has opened up a seven-point lead over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in their Kentucky Senate race, a new poll finds.
released a new survey Friday showing McConnell with 48 percent support to Grimes’ 41 percent. Five percent said they like some other candidate, and 7 percent were undecided. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The two were tied with 42 percent each in late January at what then a hypothetical race, the survey notes.
But with the primary battles over – McConnell snagged 60 percent of the vote against tea party challenger Matt Bevin, and Grimes pulled in 76 percent over the vote in a four-way Democratic primary – the candidates are sharpening their focus in one of the year's top Senate races.
The stakes couldn't be higher for the November election.
Democrats view Grimes’ candidacy as one of their best chances to take away an existing GOP seat, Rasmussen notes – while Republicans, who need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate — are betting voters, bitter about mine closures and job losses in the coal industry they blame on the Obama administration, won't want to put
a Democrat in the Senate.
"President Obama’s plan to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants is a sore subject in coal-producing states like Kentucky," Rasmussen notes, "and Grimes has gone out of her way to portray herself as a pro-coal Democrat at odds with Obama."
McConnell has the support of 74 percent of voters who think the administration wants to outlaw the coal industry, the poll found.
The Affordable Care Act is also unpopular in Kentucky — more so than it is nationally, Rasmussen reports —and Grimes has been dodging
questions about whether she would have voted for Obamacare if she had been a member of the Senate at the time.
Just 38 percent of Kentucky voters view the law favorably; 60 percent have an unfavorable opinion of it.
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