Campaigns on the verge of near-certain doom ahead of Election Day frequently try to spin their way out of it on the last days of the campaign. But this might be the most incredible example of polling spin we’ve ever seen.
The campaign team of Matt Bevin, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s intra-party challenger in Kentucky, issued a statement Monday featuring a take on their polling that stretched the bounds of imagination.
The campaign’s statement included a Human Events/Gravis Marketing poll that is the only one showing Bevin within even remote mathematical reach of McConnell. According to the poll, McConnell leads Bevin by a 48-34 margin, with the remaining 18% of Republican primary voters undecided.
“With McConnell under 50%, and 18% still undecided, Bevin can make up for the 14-point gap on election day,” the campaign wrote of the primary, which is set for Tuesday.
The campaign’s statement continued by emphasising the supposed precariousness of McConnell’s position.
“After spending over $US10 million, McConnell has seen his lead drop by double digits in recent weeks. He’s now dangerously under 50% and we have the momentum in the closing days,” Bevin spokeswoman Sarah Durand said.
However, most of the other recent polling of the primary undercuts Team Bevin’s argument. Even the poll the Bevin campaign passed around offers a warning. McConnell has a 60-25 lead among Republicans — and Kentucky’s Republican primary is only open to Republicans. Where Bevin gets most of his support is among Democrats, with whom he enjoys a 42-31 advantage.
The NBC/Marist College poll, which has a much longer track record than Human Events/Gravis, showed McConnell with a 32-point lead. The poll included responses from those who are leaning toward a candidate. On that question, 57% picked McConnell, compared with 25% who chose Bevin, which would indicate undecideds are far more likely to break for the incumbent. A Survey USA-Courier Journal poll released last week also showed McConnell with a healthy, 55-35 lead over Bevin.
McConnell’s expected win Tuesday will set up a general-election matchup with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, which has long been one of the most anticipated Senate showdowns of the midterm elections.
This post was updated to note additional information about the Human Events/Gravis Marketing poll.
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