Partisan political polls are best taken with a boulder of salt.
The point of such less-than-objective surveys is to fill campaign coffers and fire up the faithful.
A new Republican poll purports to reveal a knotted gubernatorial race between Attorney Gen. Daniel Cameron, the GOP hopeful, and Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat. Each got 47 percent with another 7 percent undecided, reported Danielle Kaye of Louisville Public Media in a WKMS-FM online story.
In the story, Sean Southard of the Republican Party of Kentucky bragged that the numbers were “bad news” for the governor.
Added Kaye: “In a statement, Cygnal pollster Brent Buchanan said the results show that Republicans can capitalize on swing voters’ overwhelming disapproval of President Joe Biden, giving GOP candidates an advantage in Kentucky’s elections.”
Maybe not, said Stephen Voss, a political science professor at the University of Kentucky. He told Kaye: “Nothing about these polling results guarantee that we will see a shift toward the Republicans later on. It’s an assumption that the Republican party will be able to nationalize the race and make our governor’s election about Joe Biden.”
In Kaye’s story, Alex Floyd, Team Beshear communications director, said Team Cameron is trying to nationalize the race because the RPK wonders if their guy can beat Beshear.
She quoted him: “Because Andy remains one of the most popular governors in the country, Republicans are now admitting publicly what they have known privately for months: if this race is about Daniel Cameron and Andy Beshear, they will lose.”
Kaye wrote that the poll revealed that “94% of swing voters in Kentucky disapprove of Biden, but 81% are favorable towards Beshear. Voss said voters evaluate governors differently than they do presidents and senators, meaning it’s still unclear whether swing voters – even those who disapprove of Biden – will lean towards Cameron in the race for governor.”
Independent pre-primary polls had Beshear beating Cameron and the other GOP frontrunners.
So far, all signs point to Beshear focusing on the strong job growth on his watch, plus his critical, lifesaving leadership in the COVID crisis and his steady, hands-on response to double, deadly natural disasters.
Cameron will keep keep making Beshear and Biden synonyms and keep trotting out the three Ds: demagoguery and dissembling against the guy whose job he wants, and doting on The Donald.
While Beshear and Cameron romped in the primaries, neither side is predicting a landslide on Nov. 7. A recent Beshear fund-raising email conceded that Kentucky gubernatorial races are frequently too close for comfort, pointing out that Beshear unseated GOP Gov. Matt Bevin by 5,136 votes going on four years ago.
The email claimed the Republicans “tipped their hands about their strategy, admitting that ‘nationalizing the race’ is their only way to try to win. You know what that means.”
In case you don’t, the email warned: “Get ready for every outlandish thing you hear people yelling about on cable news and on Twitter to come to your TV soon. Because our opponent knows that if this campaign is about who can create good jobs, who will protect our public schools, and who can lead our state through tough times with compassion and strength, Andy is going to win.”