Democrat Ben Chandler leads Republican Alice Forgy Kerr in Tuesday's special election in the 6th Congressional District, but he still lacks a majority, according to The Courier-Journal's latest Bluegrass Poll.
The race to fill the vacancy created by Republican Ernie Fletcher's election as governor has drawn state and national interest, partly because of Chandler's loss to Fletcher and because it is the first Democrat-Republican race of national impact in 2004.
The telephone survey, taken last Thursday through Monday, showed Chandler with 49.4percent, Kerr with 39.6percent, and 11percent undecided.
The poll, which surveyed 466 self-described likely voters, has an error margin of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Thus, Chandler holds a slight lead when accounting for the error margin.
The figures for Chandler and Kerr included voters who initially said they were undecided but were leaning toward a candidate. Without the leaners, Chandler's lead was within the error margin.
But, Kerr is running some nasty ads:
Democrats see it as an opportunity to pick up a seat and cast doubts on Republican prospects this fall, while the GOP — led by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell — is fighting to keep the seat vacated by Republican Ernie Fletcher's election as governor.
McConnell's chief of staff is managing Kerr's campaign, two other McConnell staffers are on leave to work in it, and another McConnell aide has shadowed Kerr at some events.
A recent Kerr TV ad featured a bloodhound searching for Chandler's positions on issues such as taxes and Iraq. The ad, titled "They're Back," evoked memories of the ads that McConnell used to oust Democrat Walter "Dee" Huddleston from the Senate in 1984. McConnell said he didn't help create the Kerr ad but saw it before it appeared.
Kerr said when party leaders nominated her Dec. 13 that Bush might visit the district to help her. When her campaign said in late January that he would not, because it would have to pay excessive security costs, Kerr's detractors in both parties said Bush didn't want to start his re-election year by tying himself to a losing campaign.
An extra bonus of winning this one is that it'll be a nice little bitch-slap to Mitch McConnell.
Give'em if you've got'em!