New Dem Poll Shows McConnell in Tight Race

McConnell is up for re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

As a new poll showed a tight race in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held a news conference in Louisville to press for the repeal of the health care overhaul and tie his opponent to the Senate Democrats who voted for it.

The poll, conducted by Democratic firm Lake Research Partners for MoveOn.org’s political action arm, found McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tied at 37 percent in a potential general-election matchup. It’s the latest evidence that the Bluegrass State will be among the top races of 2014.

Speaking behind a podium at his campaign headquarters, McConnell said Democrats essentially took a “meat ax” to the country’s health care system with the new law and are now panicked over the repercussions. After referring to the health care website's troubles, he noted that 15 Democrats up for re-election next year met with the president at the White House last week to discuss the law.

“The panic has set in,” McConnell said. “The troops are restless, and on a daily basis you will see some Democrat from some red state come up with a new way to try to distance themselves.”

He then sought to tie Grimes to those Senate Democrats, including Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.

“Whatever Mary Landrieu does you can expect that my opponent will likely do either that day or the next day,” McConnell said.

In response, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticized McConnell's refusal to take reporters' questions on other topics — something he announced at the start of the event — and cited the latest poll.

"The only one in panic mode over anything is Mitch McConnell over his own sinking poll numbers," DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky said.

The poll, conducted Oct. 24-29 of 603 likely general-election voters, also found McConnell with a wide lead over his primary opponent, businessman Matt Bevin. The poll had a 4-point margin of error.

The poll released Tuesday used live callers. In September, an automated poll conducted by Lake Research Partners for a group that favors campaign finance reform found Grimes ahead 46 percent to 40 percent.

The race is currently rated Republican Favored by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.