Only 28% of Kentucky voters approve of Jim Bunning's job performance, our newest survey finds. 18% have no opinion and 54% say they disapprove of his work. That's the highest level of disapproval for any of the 18 Senators across the country PPP has gauged approval for since last summer. The previous worst before this Kentucky survey was 40% for Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.
Bunning trails all four of the most mentioned possible Democratic candidates in hypothetical contests. The strongest potential contender at this point appears to be Congressman Ben Chandler, who has a 14 point edge. Attorney General Jack Conway, Auditor Crit Luallen, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo lead by 9, 8, and 7 points respectively.
There does not appear to be much doubt that Republicans would be better off with Secretary of State Trey Grayson as their nominee. 46% of voters have a favorable opinion of him, with just 19% holding a negative one. He also fares better than Bunning against all of the possible Democratic contenders, trailing Chandler by 6 and Conway by 4 but leading Luallen by 2 and Mongiardo by 4.
It's no surprise that Grayson's favorability among Democrats and independents is superior to Bunning's but he's actually doing much better with Republicans too. While only 42% approve of the job the incumbent is doing with 36% giving him poor marks, 54% of GOP voters have a positive opinion of Grayson with just 9% dissenting. Grayson has said he won't run unless Bunning retires but it appears he would have a very decent shot of winning in a primary if he changed his mind.
Another mentioned Republican alternative, State Senate President David Williams, does not fare particularly well. Only 28% of voters view him favorably and he trails all the potential Democratic contenders by larger margins than Bunning.
November 2010 is far in the distance and Kentucky has shown itself to be a pretty conservative state at the federal level in recent elections. But at this point it appears the chances of Jim Bunning being reelected are very slim.
Full results here