Poll: McConnell on Shakier Ground with Dem Challenge as Tea Party Has Yet to Offer Candidate

A Democratic-leaning polling organization said today that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is in his weakest position yet heading into his 2014 re-election.


Tea Party groups have set their sights on five-term incumbent McConnell, but still have yet to find a viable candidate to declare candidacy in a primary challenge to the GOP leader.

Meanwhile, Democrats are searching for their right challenger for a shot at the seat. A new Public Policy Polling survey out today shows McConnell tied with Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) at 45 percent in a hypothetical matchup. Former President Clinton is reportedly trying to talk 34-year-old Grimes into running.

“McConnell’s early positive advertising has done nothing to improve his prospects for reelection and in fact this is the actually the weakest position PPP has found him in yet,” the PPP report claims. “In April we found him leading Grimes by 4 points and in December he had a 7 point advantage over her.”

McConnell has a 44 percent approval and 47 disapproval rating, while Grimes has 34 percent approval and 24 percent disapproval.

Half of those polled agreed with the statement “Mitch McConnell is part of the problem in Washington, DC, and has forgotten about the people of Kentucky.”

The poll didn’t ask about Republican challengers, but that would be a hypothetical as Tea Partiers are still trying to chase down a candidate.

Respondents were half Democrats, 35 percent Republicans and 15 percent independent.


However, Tea Party activist David Adams told local media on Sunday that a primary challenger should be announced in “a matter of days, perhaps weeks.”

Adams called those under consideration, while not naming any names, “citizens with ‘shoot the lights out’ resumes, with an understanding of the constitution and an ability to enunciate that I think will shock a lot of people.”

WHAS11 Louisville noted that Adams’ promises of campaign announcements don’t always materialize, but the Tea Party activist is betting his “political life” on a conservative challenger to McConnell.

McConnell has recently scored endorsements from TheTeaParty.net and Tea Party Nation.

“Right now, I don’t see a super candidate on the horizon who can ensure that seat remains in Republican hands,” wrote Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation.  “Since the bigger battle is over control of the Senate, this is one fight where we need to decide we can live with someone who isn’t perfect in order to win the larger battle.”


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