A new poll shows Democratic Governor Steve Beshear pummeling Republican opponent David Williams in the 2011 gubernatorial race and raises questions if the growing lead is having a negative affect on the rest of the GOP ticket. But the Williams campaign says the GOP nominee is gaining ground and support for his issue-oriented candidacy and that things will pick up after Labor Day.
In a survey released Tuesday, Public Policy Polling shows Beshear headed for a landslide victory this fall and Kentucky voters favoring the governor over Williams by a 27-point margin. With a four percent margin of error, the poll of 600 likely voters has Beshear with 55 percent, Williams with 28 percent and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith with 10 percent.
The governor’s lead almost doubles the state Senate president and puts more pressure on GOP candidates down the ticket, who could see lower turnout.
“There’s some indication within these numbers that many Republicans are planning to stay home because their Gubernatorial candidate is so weak,” Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling said in a news release. “That could hurt the party’s chances for secretary of state, auditor and agriculture commissioner.”
The survey highlights Williams’s high negatives as leading culprit.
More than anything else this is because Williams is one of the worst candidates a party’s put forth in a plausibly competitive Gubernatorial race in recent memory. Only 21% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 54% who view him negatively. Even with Republicans he’s barely seen positively by a 41/29 margin and with Democrats (9/70) and independents (16/55) there are virtually no voters with a favorable view.
The poll contrasts Williams unfavorable ratings with Beshear, who remains highly popular among voters with 57 percent saying they approve of his job performance. PPP found Beshear is one of the more popular governors in the country, behind only Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Mike Beebe of Arkansas, and John Hickenlooper of Colorado.
Despite the poll results, the Williams campaign tells WFPL News it has seen growing support at fundraisers and that the campaign will pick up steam after the holiday weekend.
“It isn’t even Labor Day and media people are obsessed with polls. We’ve seen an uptick in fundraising the last couple of weeks and Sen. Williams is getting a good response to his specific ideas for job creation and education reform on the campaign trail, while Gov. Beshear continues to avoid discussing any sort of an agenda for the future,” says Williams’s campaign chairman, former state Adjutant General Donald Storm. “We are going to keep working hard every day to let as many people know that we can make Kentucky a much better place if we elect a governor with bold, innovative ideas and a real plan to get people jobs. In this race, that choice is clear – David Williams.: