Here’s the latest news out of Kentucky:
A new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy shows Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear deadlocked in Kentucky's gubernatorial race, with the election just three weeks away.
Mason-Dixon interviewed 625 registered and likely voters from Oct. 10-13 for the poll, which found Bevin and Beshear tied at 46% each.
One percent of respondents indicated they intend to vote for Libertarian candidate John Hicks, while 7% were still undecided.
While more respondents in the poll disapproved of Bevin's performance as governor and had an unfavorable opinion of him, one advantage for Bevin in the closing weeks of the campaign is the 57% approval rating for President Donald Trump — who many expect to visit Kentucky and stump for the governor at least once before Election Day on Nov. 5.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that Bevin has his “Complete and Total Endorsement,” adding that the governor “has done a wonderful job for the people of Kentucky” and “is Strong on Crime and the Border.”
Brad Coker, the CEO of Mason-Dixon, told The Courier Journal that challengers like Beshear usually have a slight advantage over incumbents in close races, as incumbents have “a bit of a ceiling” because of their record.
However, Coker says, the expected presence of Trump in the state may change that dynamic.
“I suspect Trump will be in (Kentucky) and he'll be beating the drums for Bevin,” Coker said. “So, in a state like Kentucky, I'd rather have Trump with me than against me.”
Bevin has clawed back from an early deficit. Both his campaign and the Republican Governors Association have hammered Beshear on controversial issues like abortion and illegal immigration while touting the economy. They’ve also pushed back against the central message of Beshear’s campaign — that Bevin has a “war” on public education — by pointing to funding his administration has put into the education and teacher pension systems.
Bevin’s messaging appears to have worked. Only 36% of respondents had a favorable opinion of him, but 45% of respondents said they approved of his job performance. Republicans in particular have warmed to Bevin, as his campaign has asked them to vote their values. Seventy-two percent of Republicans approve of the job Bevin is doing as governor while 77% of Republicans said they would vote for him in November.
Beshear was viewed favorably by 37% of respondents.
Just 15% of Republicans said they would cross the aisle to vote for Beshear while 22% of Democrats said they will vote for Bevin.
People who identified as independents said they supported Beshear over Bevin, with 46% backing Beshear and 38% for Bevin. Beshear also had more support among people under the age of 50 (50% to 41%) and women (49% to 41%), while Bevin led among older voters (50% to 43%) and men (51% to 43%).
Eastern Kentucky has been seen as up for grabs after both Bevin and Beshear lost several counties in the region in their respective primaries, but the poll showed Bevin ahead 56% to 38% in the region. Northern Kentucky, however, appeared more competitive as Bevin led by only two points, 47% to 45%.
As recently as August, the Beshear campaign was boasting to donors that it had a 9 point lead on Bevin, but they have been largely outspent on television. An earlier Mason-Dixon poll, taken in December 2018, showed Beshear with a 48% to 40% lead over Bevin.
It’s a tight, toss-up race but it ain’t over. We need to keep up the momentum and win this race. Click below to donate and get involved with Beshear and his fellow Kentucky Democrats campaigns: