On Friday, Rasmussen Reports released a new poll that shows incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has increased his lead over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes to 8 points in the Kentucky U.S. Senate race.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters, conducted between October 15 and 16, shows that 52% support McConnell while only 44% support Grimes. The poll was taken after Grimes committed several serious gaffes highlighted by her refusal to say whether she voted for President Obama on two occasions–at a meeting with the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal last week and on Monday in her only debate with Senator McConnell.
Only 2% of voters intend to support another candidate, and a mere 3% are undecided. The poll does not include “leaners.”
Rasmussen Reports has never shown McConnell behind in the race. In the May Rasmussen Reports poll he was up 48% to 41%, and in the September Rasmussen Reports poll he was up 46% to 41%.
This is the first time since polling of the race between McConnell and Grimes began that McConnell has exceeded 50%. (Two polls — a CBS poll in July and a CNN poll in August — showed him right at 50%).
A recent poll by Survey USA, released earlier this month, caused a stir when it showed Grimes leading McConnell by a 46% to 44% margin. The results of that poll, however, have not been supported by any subsequent poll.
But since the Survey USA poll was released, Grimes has stumbled into several controversies. In addition to refusing to say whether or not she voted for Obama, Grimes staffers have been videotaped saying her support of the coal industry was a lie, and Grimes has come under criticism from left-wing groups for a television ad in which she attacks McConnell for supporting the 1986 immigration reform bill that granted amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens.
An eight-point lead, if accurate, would insulate McConnell from forces like an especially strong “ground game” on Grimes’ part.