It’s going to be a bumpy ride to re-election for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
A survey by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling, done on behalf of Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America, puts McConnell one point behind his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, 45% to 44%. Grimes, Kentucky’s current Secretary of State, officially entered the race on Tuesday. And while her one-point lead is well within the polls 2.8% margin of error, the numbers back up the narrative that the conservative-leaning Kentucky is not all sewn up for McConnell in 2014.
Despite reports of high fundraising, McConnell’s approval ratings certainly aren’t helping his prospects. PPP data from April put him at 36% job approval, down from 37% in December. But that same December poll showed that despite being the most unpopular senator in the United States, McConnell led all Democrats tested against him, including Grimes, who was shown at a 7-point deficit. This most recent poll shows McConnell’s approval ticking up slightly, 40% of Kentuckians approve of the job he’s doing, but this number is a decrease from the 44% McConnell was sporting in late May. That month PPP placed him in a dead heat with Grimes, 45-45, “the weakest position PPP has found him in yet.”
One month after the left-leaning pollster found McConnell in a position of weakness, the Kentucky senator’s campaign came out with an auto-tuned attack ad on Grimes. Released one day after she announced her challenge bid, the video asks “What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes?”, answering with phrases like “sticks to the party line” and “left-wing mime.”
The PPP survey did not include Matt Bevin, McConnell’s Tea-Party backed primary challenger. Team McConnell released an attack ad on Wednesday, challenging Bevin for receiving a “tax payer bail out” after his Connecticut company failed to pay taxes and painting him as an “East Coast Con Man.”
A Republican poll by Wenzel Strategies last week found McConnell leading Bevin by a solid margin, 59% to 20%. That same poll showed McConnell leading Grimes by 8 points, 48% to 40%.