Democrat Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes says an internal poll shows she’s in a virtual dead-heat with Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, despite national polls indicating he’s pulled well ahead.
Grimes’ pollster Mark Mellman said during a media conference call that she has a 1-point lead in the Kentucky race and called it "essentially a tied race," the Lexington Herald-Leader
Her survey found that Grimes was leading McConnell 43 percent to 42 percent, with 15 percent undecided, according to the newspaper, which noted that Mellman’s polling of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's 2010 race proved accurate when other public polls were incorrect.
Earlier this week, an NBC/Marist poll
revealed that the senate minority leader was leading Kentucky’s secretary of state by 8 points, 47 percent to 39 percent.
In a CBS/NYT/YouGov survey, McConnell was ahead by 4 to 5 points, while a Bluegrass Poll has the senator leading by 4 points, according to reports.
But Mellman said, "Bottom line is, this is an exceedingly close race with the slightest advantage at this moment for Grimes. It's a race that will certainly go down to the wire."
The Washington Post's Aaron Blake, however, scoffed at Grimes’ poll, referring to it on Twitter as "the this-race-is-still-competitive-please-don't-give-up internal poll," said the Herald-Leader, which noted that The New York Times’ statistics team just gave McConnell a 93 percent chance of winning.
McConnell spokeswoman Allison Moore also shrugged off Grimes’ poll, saying it was a desperate attempt to keep her candidacy relevant.
"Alison Lundergan Grimes is dangerously close to losing national interest in her campaign with nine straight polls showing her losing significant ground, so that's what this poll is about," Moore told the Herald-Leader.
"Bottom line is that every single public poll shows that Kentuckians aren't interested in trading in the clout and influence they have in the Senate for another liberal vote in support of the Obama agenda."
Pointing to his previous successes, however, Mellman said he was "absolutely" and "completely confident" in his survey.
"One of the differences and one of the things that makes us accurate is we're focused on the likely electorate and not just likely voters," said Mellman, without revealing the "secret sauce" of his polling methods.
"There's never been an electorate made up exclusively of likely voters. We want to know what that likely electorate looks like."
The phone survey of 800 Kentucky voters was conducted Sept. 4-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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