An intense election battle is taking place in Kentucky this week, as incumbent Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, faces a strong challenge from Republican Daniel Cameron. The latest Emerson College Polling survey reveals that the race is currently at a dead heat, with both candidates tied at 47% support. Two percent of voters express support for someone else, while 4% remain undecided. However, when undecided voters were asked to lean towards a candidate, Cameron gains a slight advantage with 49% support compared to Beshear’s 48%.
The dynamics of the race have shifted dramatically in recent weeks. Just a few weeks ago, Beshear held a comfortable lead of 16 points. However, Cameron has managed to close the gap and gain significant momentum. Beshear’s initial support has decreased by two points, while Cameron has seen a remarkable 14-point increase in support since the previous survey. Moreover, the number of undecided voters has decreased by nine points, reflecting the growing awareness and engagement ahead of the election.
Spencer Kimball, the Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, suggests that Cameron’s surge can be attributed, in part, to his success in consolidating Republican voters who previously supported former President Donald Trump. In October, 54% of Trump supporters expressed their support for Cameron. As election day approaches, that number has risen to 79%, displaying a 25-point increase. It is worth noting that the October poll surveyed registered voters in Kentucky, whereas the final election poll only includes voters who are highly likely to vote or have already cast their ballots.
The poll also highlights shifts in voter demographics. Among older voters in the age group of 50-69, Cameron has experienced a significant increase in support. Currently, 58% of this age group favors Cameron, marking a 22-point increase from the previous survey. In contrast, Beshear has witnessed a decline of 9 points in support from the same age group, now standing at 40%.
The closeness of this race has caught the attention of many, with some drawing broader implications. Politico suggests that the outcome of this election could serve as a test of President Joe Biden’s popularity. To secure a second term as governor, Beshear must prove that the Democratic Party can thrive, even in traditionally Republican regions like the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields. However, he faces the challenge of achieving this feat amid Biden’s current unpopularity. On the other hand, Republicans are hopeful that Biden’s deep unpopularity will work in their favor and boost their chances in states like Kentucky.
As the election approaches on Tuesday, all eyes will be on this pivotal race. The outcome could have significant implications for both the local political landscape in Kentucky and the broader national narrative surrounding Biden’s administration.