Steve Beshear has unusually strong approval numbers for an incumbent Governor and looks favored to win reelection next year at this very early stage. He's up 44-35 on David Williams and 45-26 on Phil Moffett in PPP's newest look at the race.
48% of voters in Kentucky approve of the job Beshear's doing to 34% who disapprove. Beshear's on positive ground with independents at 47/31, unusually good numbers for a Democrat at a time when those folks are tending to lean strongly toward the GOP. Beshear also has a 27% approval rating with Republicans. That may not sound like much but it's an unusual level of crossover support these days when most Democratic politicians are in single digits with Republican voters.
In his match up with Williams Beshear has a 13 point lead with independents, and is picking up 15% of the Republican vote while losing only 16% of the Democratic vote. Kentucky has some of the most conservative Democrats in the country and a lot of them tend to vote Republican, including as recently as last week for Rand Paul. So if Beshear can continue to not bleed any more Democrats than he gains Republicans he's going to be in a very solid position.
Beshear does better against Moffett largely because more Republicans report being undecided in that scenario. 34% say they don't know who they'd vote for compared to only 21% in a Beshear/Williams match up.
There is a long way to go until November of 2011, and Beshear is polling under 50%. But looking back at all of the polling PPP did in 2009 for 2010 races there is only one race- the one for Governor in Arizona- where a candidate who led by this much at some point in 2009 ended up losing the election in 2010. So the odds are certainly with Beshear.
Full results here