May 27, 2008
Lunsford leads McConnell in poll, but doubts about it pop up
UPDATED THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford is leading Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell by five percentage points in their race to represent Kentucky in the U.S. Senate, according to a poll released Tuesday by Rasmussen Reports.
The telephone survey of 500 likely voters shows Lunsford at 49 percent and McConnell at 44 percent. The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, was conducted May 22.
Those results are starkly different from a Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Polltaken before the May 20 primary, which showed McConnell leading Lunsford by 12 points in a hypothetical fall match-up.
Interestingly, the Rasmussen poll shows McConnell with a 52-percent favorability rating, compared to 47 percent for Lunsford.
UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: McConnell's campaign quickly released an internal polling memo showing him with an 11 point lead over Lunsford.
McConnell campaign manager Justin Brasell blasted the Rasmussen poll.
“This is an indicator of what we can expect for the next five months," Brasell said in a statement. "National Journal refuses to print Rasmussen polls, yet Democrat leaders will trumpet bogus polls like this one in a futile effort to create a false sense of momentum for the hand-picked candidate of New York Senator Chuck Schumer and the DSCC.”
UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: Two non-partisan reports based in Washington took issue with the Rasmussen poll.
"It's delusional. It's not only silly, it's stupid," said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.
"Rasmussen has been preparing wrong polls. There is no reason to believe that Lunsford is leading McConnell in that race."
Rothenberg said it's "realistic" to believe that McConnell holds an 11-point lead.
"That's not a blowout," he said. "The Republican brand is damaged and he is leader of the Republicans in the Senate. But there is no way he is trailing in the race."
Jennifer Duffy, with the Cook Political Report, said, "I pay almost no attention to Rasmussen polls. The methodology is really flawed and they have a terrible track record."