The 2014 midterm elections are just around the corner, and the race for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) seat is heating up. Glenn spoke to Sen. McConnell’s primary challenger, Matt Bevin, in November and was impressed with his conservative values. New polling data shows Bevin is slowly but surely closing a very large gap against Sen. McConnell. And there is even worse news for Sen. McConnell – he leads his presumed Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, by just one point in the polls.
“Did you see the poll on Mitch McConnell's race,” Pat asked on radio this morning. “Usually a poll that has Mitch McConnell leading Bevin 53-, you would think that race is over, looks pretty good for McConnell and bad for Bevin. But this past summer, the difference was 52 points!”
Taking a look at data from Public Policy Polling, Republican voters seem to be unfamiliar with who Bevin is as a candidate, but they are certainly not overly enthusiastic with Sen. McConnell’s performance:
Do you approve or disapprove of Senator Mitch McConnell’s job performance?
Not sure: 11%
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Matt Bevin?
Not sure: 61%
If the Republican candidates for Senate in 2014 were Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin, who would you vote for?
Mitch McConnell: 53%
Matt Bevin: 26%
Not sure: 21%
“Here's the problem. I think Matt Bevin should win. I think it's an important race, and I'm hoping that Matt Bevin is everything he says he is. He could be another Ted Cruz, and he seems like the right kind of guy,” Glenn said. “But I will tell you this: If he loses this race, mark my words, McConnell will lose.”
Looking beyond Kentucky Republicans, Glenn is right that the general election is shaping up to be a tight one:
If the candidates for Senate next year were Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who would you vote for?
Mitch McConnell: 43%
Alison Lundergan Grimes: 42%
Not sure: 15%
If the candidates for Senate next year were Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who would you vote for?
Matt Bevin: 39%
Alison Lundergan Grimes: 38%
Not sure: 24%
See the complete Public Policy Polling data HERE.
“I really hate to war game for the Democrats,” Glenn said. “But honestly, if you found someone that was a moderate in Kentucky, you would slam Mitch McConnell.”
Ultimately, when you consider Rand Paul is the junior senator from the state, the people of Kentucky are clearly willing to embrace a less establishment, more conservative leader.
“What's the mentality of Kentucky? It's Rand Paul, not Mitch McConnell. McConnell was great when you had the understanding of, ‘Well, he's better than the other guys.’ That's not the mind-set of the people in Kentucky, thank God, now,” Glenn concluded. “If they had Bevin and Rand Paul, Kentucky would be better than Texas.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP