Kentucky Secretary of State race tightens up as fall campaign season begins

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September 8, 2011


By David Godow

FRANKFORT, Kentucky:

A pair of new polls shows this year's race for Kentucky Secretary of State is heating up even as summer fades, with Republican Bill Johnson closing what was once a significant advantage for Democratic attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes.

According to a survey conducted from August 25-28 by North Carolina-based polling shop Public Policy Polling, Grimes holds just a 3 point advantage over Johnson, 38% to 35%, with 26% person of voters undecided.[1] This is down considerably from a June cn|2 poll, which put her edge at over 10 points.[2]

Still, the latest numbers have not been all bad for Grimes. Another cn|2 survey, taken August 29-31, gives her a still strong 9 point lead over her Republican opponent.[3] By cn|2's numbers, 36.8% of voters favor Grimes and 27.9% prefer Johnson. Interestingly, however, the poll calls 35.3% of voters undecided; back in June, only 23.6% of voters called themselves unsure.

The majority of these new undecided votes appear to have come from people previously pledged to Grimes's camp -- her share of the vote was down 7 points (43.8% to 36.8%) from June to August, while Johnson's was down only 4.7 points (32.6% to 27.9%).

Even if Grimes's lead is stronger than the 3 point lead Public Policy Polling gives her, the huge increase in undecided voters suggests she may be failing to close the deal as heavy campaigning begins this fall.

The below chart details all three major polls covering the KY Secretary of State race this campaign season.

Date of Poll Pollster Bill Johnson (R) Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Undecided Number polled
Aug. 29-31, 2011[4] cn|2/Braun Research 27.9% 36.8% 35.3% 803
Aug. 25-28, 2011[5] Public Policy Polling 35% 38% 26% 800
Jun. 6-8, 2011[6] cn|2 32.6% 43.8% 23.6% 797

See also