Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, 50%, is ahead of his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, 41%, among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early.
While a partisan divide exists, McConnell benefits from the support of 17% of Democrats likely to vote, more than twice the proportion of Republican likely voters, 8%, who backs Grimes. McConnell’s lead among independents likely to cast a ballot has gone up to 17 points from 7 points in NBC News/Marist’s September survey.
The gender gap has closed from 19 points to just 4 points with McConnell ahead among men and women. McConnell also does well among likely voters who are married. Grimes, though, has the advantage among likely voters who are single.
“McConnell has a strong lead in the closing days of the campaign,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Not only does McConnell still attract support from many more Democrats than Grimes receives from Republicans, but the gender gap has pretty much vanished with McConnell now leading Grimes among both men and women.”
- McConnell, 50%, leads Grimes, 41%, by 9 points in the race for U.S. Senate among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have already voted. Libertarian David Patterson has 5%. In NBC News/Marist’s September survey, McConnell, 47%, had an 8 point lead over Grimes, 39%, among likely voters.
- A partisan divide exists. However, McConnell, 17%, receives more than twice as many Democratic likely voters than Grimes garners Republicans likely to vote, 8%.
- McConnell, 49%, has a 17 point lead over Grimes, 32%, among independents likely to cast a ballot, up from 7 points in September.
- Marital status matters. 62% of married men and 57% of married women are for McConnell. In contrast, 52% of single men and 51% of single women are for Grimes.
- 63% of likely voters with a candidate preference including early voters, up from 56%, strongly support their choice of candidate for U.S. Senate. 69% of Grimes’ supporters and 62% of McConnell’s backers say they are firmly committed to their choice of candidate. For both candidates, more of their supporters report they will not waver in their commitment than previously.
- Among registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have already voted, McConnell has 49% to 39% for Grimes. Patterson garners 6%. McConnell, 45%, was ahead of Grimes, 38%, by 7 points among registered voters last month.
- Neither McConnell nor Grimes is viewed favorably by Kentucky’s likely electorate. McConnell’s negative score stands at 49%, little changed from 48% previously. Grimes’ negative score has inched up to 47% from 43%.
- Job creation and economic growth, 22%, is the key issue for likely voters in deciding their vote for Congress. Breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington follows closely with 20%. Social Security and Medicare takes the third spot with 14%. 10% of likely voters consider health care the key issue in the race while 9% mention the deficit and government spending. Seven percent say military action against ISIS is the deciding factor in their vote, and immigration and looking out for the interests of women each receives 3%.
- President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is at 30% among Kentucky adults similar to the 31% he received in September.