The Washington Times - July 25, 2013, 10:41AM

A new poll puts Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, significantly ahead of both a GOP and a Democratic challenger for his Senate seat in 2014.

Mr. McConnell leads Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat who is the commonweath’s secretary of state, 48 percent to 40 percent, with 12 percent not sure, according to the poll from the GOP firm Wenzel Strategies. Slightly more than 72 percent of those voters said their choice was “very firm,” compared with about 28 percent who said they could change their mind or are very open to change.


Mr. McConnell, who is one of the Democratic Party’s top targets next year, is crushing Republican challenger Matt Bevin, a businessman, in the GOP primary contest, leading by nearly 40 points — about 59 percent to 20 percent.

About 58 percent of those answers were “very firm,” and 42 percent of voters said they were open to changing their mind.

Politico first reported the results of the poll Thursday morning.

About 53 percent of voters have a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of Mr. McConnell, and 45 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

Compared to the well-tenured Mr. McConnell, Mrs. Lundergan Grimes and Mr. Bevin are still relative unknowns. Thirty-five percent have a favorable opinion of Mrs. Lundergan Grimes, 37 percent have an unfavorable opinion and about a quarter have no opinion. Nearly two-thirds of respondents have no opinion about Mr. Bevin.

The survey of 624 likely voters, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.