Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breaking down the Bunning endorsement

With Jim Bunning's endorsement of Rand Paul I know there's going to be a lot of media and pundit temptation to declare it a huge victory for him over Mitch McConnell if Paul defeats Trey Grayson next month. But it won't be.

The last time we polled Kentucky we found that McConnell's approval rating with Republicans in the state was a 75/18 spread while Bunning's was only 43/29. McConnell is a much more popular and well respected figure with Kentucky Republicans than Bunning is. But the reality is that these endorsements just don't matter a whole lot. If voters in the state decide they like Paul better than Grayson they're going to vote for Paul, even if they simultaneously like McConnell better than Bunning.

Bunning's also a little bit late to the game here. The last four independent public polls released in this race have all shown Paul with a double digit lead over Grayson. Maybe a Bunning endorsement would have meant something when this still looked like a tossup race but now it's just jumping on the train after it's already left the station. This action may provide further indication that Bunning likes to stick it to McConnell (which we already knew) but it's not going to say much about the two Senators' relative influence in the state.

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