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Conway Still Has Edge In Close Governor's Race, Bluegrass Poll Shows

Alix Mattingly

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway still holds a narrow lead in a three-way governor’s race between Republican Matt Bevin and Independent candidate Drew Curtis.

Conway holds a five point lead a month before the election,  according to the Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday..

The political landscape of the race remains largely unchanged since Kentucky voters were surveyed for July’s poll.

The most recent poll has Conway with 42 percent support from voters. Bevin – who narrowly won the Republican primary this year – garnered 37 percent support. Independent Drew Curtis polled at 7 percent.

The race remains very close, but Republicans aren’t gaining much ground, the poll shows. Nationally, there were expectations that Kentucky would join a handful of other states switching from longtime Democratic hold to a Republican governorship. Louisiana and Mississippi voters will also choose a governor this November and Republicans were hoping for a sweep.

Before President Obama took office, 29 states were led by Democratic governors. That number is down to 18. Kentucky Republicans had hoped to be part of a sweeping national trend of electing both a Republican Governor and switching the state’s House of Representatives to Republican control.

However, the governorship remains a tough fight, according to the latest numbers.

Kentucky’s race was close enough about two months ago that any candidate could have edged out a decent lead at this point, but the state’s governor’s race hasn’t budged.

“I think voter turnout is likely to be at a historic low for a governor’s race because there really is just not that much excitement for either candidate and not much prospect that there will be excitement,” veteran political commentator Al Cross said earlier this month.

Voter turnout for the gubernatorial primaries in May was a mere 12.5 percent statewide.

There were signs earlier this week that Bevin’s campaign was struggling to gain ground. The Republican Governors Association’s announced it was going to stop airing ads for Bevin. That announcement came just two days before the release of this most recent poll.

However, there is still a month left before the Nov. 3 election and the margin still thin. And Conway’s campaign isn’t breathing easy just yet.

"We're not taking anything for granted,” said Daniel Kemp, a spokesperson for the campaign. “Jack Conway and Sannie Overly will continue working hard over the next month, meeting with voters in every corner of the Commonwealth and sharing their plan to move Kentucky forward."

The Bluegrass survey was commissioned by a group of media companies – including The Courier-Journal, the Lexington Herald-Leader, WHAS and WKYT. About 700 people were surveyed.

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