Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) are running neck and neck in the 2014 Senate race, according to a new poll from the liberal group MoveOn.org.
The survey, conducted by the Democratic firm Lake Research for MoveOn, found McConnell and Grimes each attracting 37 percent of likely Kentucky voters in the general election. McConnell had a commanding 50 percent to 17 percent lead over his primary challenger, tea party-aligned businessman Matt Bevin.
The survey also found that 52 percent of the Kentucky voters rated McConnell unfavorably and 42 percent rated him favorably. Nationally, about 49 percent of Americans view him unfavorably -- a fact that Grimes' campaign hopes will give her a boost.
Publicly released partisan-sponsored polls typically produce slightly better results for their clients than do polls with independent sponsorship. A study of publicly released horse race surveys between 2000 and 2002 found that "polls identified as partisan tended to skew in favor their sponsor about 3 percentage points and against their opponent by roughly the same amount."
While a number of surveys have been conducted this year on the Senate race in Kentucky, all have been by partisan firms or sponsors. A previous Lake Research poll, taken in August for the liberal Public Campaign Action Fund, put Grimes 6 points ahead of McConnell. Two other recent Democratic surveys -- an internal Grimes poll by the Mellman Group in July and an Americans United for Change survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in October -- both gave Grimes a 2-point lead. The Republican firm Wenzel Strategies, meanwhile, found McConnell ahead 8 points in July.
Lake Research surveyed 603 likely Kentucky voters by phone between Oct. 24 and Oct. 29.