Kentucky: Andy Barr Poll Shows Him Behind by 5 Points

Rep. Ben Chandler (right), seen here in 2008 with then-Sen. Barack Obama, will have to run several points ahead of the president in his rural Kentucky district to get re-elected in November. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ben Chandler (D) leads Republican Andy Barr by 5 points in Kentucky's 6th Congressional district, according a newly released Republican poll.

Among likely voters surveyed in late June, Chandler got 47 percent to Barr's 42 percent. The poll, conducted by well-respected GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies for the Barr campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee, found Barr's support remains unchanged since a February poll. Chandler's support ticked down 2 points over the five months, a shift well within the margin of error.

The Republican poll also found presumptive GOP White House nominee Mitt Romney ahead of President Barack Obama in a horse race matchup in the district, 53 percent to 45 percent.

In a July 9 polling memo obtained by Roll Call, pollsters Robert Blizzard and Gene Ulm wrote, "when voters are asked if Ben Chandler has performed his job as Congressman well enough to deserve re-election or if they think it's time to give a new person a chance, a majority (51%) say they would support a new person, while just 41% say Chandler deserves re-election."

Despite the closeness of GOP polling in the Congressional race, a wide swath of influential Republicans in Kentucky see Barr's campaign as something of a lost cause. They believe the Lexington attorney's best chance to defeat Chandler was 2010, when Barr lost by 647 votes. Democratic polling this year found Chandler with a double-digit lead over Barr.

The NRCC continues to highlight Barr as a top recruit: he's part of their Young Guns program for the GOP's top Congressional challengers this cycle. But in the eyes of those who know Kentucky best, from Washington, D.C., to Frankfort, this isn't much of a race right now.

The recent poll, conducted by POS from June 24-26 surveyed 400 likely voters in the district by live telephone interview. The margin of error was 4.9 points.

Read the polling memo here: [scribd id=99525017 key=key-2jj7245oa8bg785z75fv mode=list]