08/01/2013 07:20 pm ET Updated Aug 15, 2014

HUFFPOLLSTER: Polls Find Close Senate Race In Kentucky

In one set of polls, a Democrat does unexpectedly well in Kentucky. In another survey, a Republican looks surprisingly strong in Michigan. And Gallup’s latest results are probably best enjoyed with a nice Merlot. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, August 1, 2013.

HUFFPOLLSTER’S ON SUMMER BREAK (SORT OF) - Expect a more streamlined summary of polling highlights for the next few days while Mark takes a well-deserved vacation.

GRIMES ONE POINT UP IN DEM-SPONSORED POLL - An automated poll conducted for the Progressive Change Campaign by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling gives Alison Lundergan Grimes a 1-point lead over Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky’s 2014 Senate race, 45 percent to 44 percent. McConnell’s approval rating was underwater, with 40 percent approving and 51 percent disapproving, and 54 percent said he didn’t deserve another term. The poll was conducted before Matt Bevin entered the Republican primary on July 24, and Grimes officially announced her candidacy on July 30. [HuffPost]

McConnell team disputes results - Nick Wing: “George Soros and the Obama Allies are up to their same old tricks," said McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton [of the PPP survey]. "They have concocted another fictitious poll that has no basis in reality, held it for ten days, and released it at the perfect time in the news cycle to help their upstart liberal candidate. This poll has zero credibility and should be ignored out of hand." [ibid]

Grimes internal also finds a close race - Joseph Gerth: “Grimes released the results of a telephone poll that showed her with a 2 point lead over McConnell among Kentucky registered voters....The poll of 750 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. In the internal poll, conducted by the Mellman Group of Washington D.C., Grimes leads 44 percent to 42 percent, with remaining voters undecided. In the PPP poll, Grimes leads 45 percent to 44 percent. [Courier-Journal, Mellman survey memo]

Polling on the race has varied - Seven polls have now been released on the matchup, all of them by partisan outlets: four by PPP, two by the Republican firm Wenzel Strategies, and the internal Grimes poll. In two earlier, unsponsored PPP polls, conducted in December and April, McConnell led by 7 and 4 points ahead respectively. In PPP's May poll for another Democratic sponsor, McConnell and Grimes were tied. Wenzel’s polls, taken in June and July, found McConnell leading by 7 and 8 points. [HuffPollster chart]

SURVEY FINDS MICHIGAN SENATE CONTENDERS IN DEAD HEAT - Fritz Klug: “A new poll shows Democratic U.S. Rep Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land with the same amount of support in a potential matchup for a seat representing Michigan in the U.S. Senate. According to the results released Thursday, 39 percent of likely voters polled said they would support Peters and 39 percent said they would back Land if they were matched up in Michigan's 2014 U.S. Senate general election. Twenty-two percent said they were undecided.” The survey, conducted by Democratic pollsters Denno Research for the bipartisan firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates, also shows Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading challenger Mark Schauer, 43 percent to 37 percent. [MLive.com article, full results]

Others less bullish on Land’s chances - Cameron Joseph: “That's a better showing for Land than she's had in previous polling: a recent survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found Peters up by 5 percentage points. Most observers believe Peters has the edge in the race, and some Republicans have been hoping Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) decides to run for the seat. Camp said this week he's giving the race a more serious look than he has in the past. [Denno] Research's track record isn't perfect — in 2012 they repeatedly found Mitt Romney running close to President Obama in the state, even though neither campaign treated the state as a competitive one and Obama carried it by 9 percentage points.” [The Hill]

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW - Quinnipiac releases a national poll on Stand Your Ground laws and President Obama on Friday morning.

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THURSDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to more news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Nate Cohn argues Marco Rubio is a viable 2016 candidate. [TNR]

-As of Wednesday, Americans still viewed Edward Snowden as a whistleblower, not a traitor. [Quinnipiac]

-Minorities’ economic optimism far outpaces whites’. [AP]

-Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley imagine the political effect of a McCain presidency; Jonathan Bernstein takes issue with the premise. [University of Virginia Center for Politics, A Plain Blog]

-Brendan Nyhan charts the media’s short attention span for scandals. [CJR]

-Nearly one in three veterans have considered suicide. [Yahoo]

-A record number of Millennials live with their parents. [Pew Research]

-America’s drinks of choice: beer and wine. [Gallup]

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Gallup's results on economic optimism.