Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is tied in a hypothetical 2014 re-election match-up against potential Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling on behalf of a pro-Democratic campaign spending group called Senate Majority PAC, shows McConnell tied with Grimes at 45 percent.
"McConnell's early advertising has done nothing to improve his prospects for re-election and in fact this is the weakest position PPP has found him in yet," wrote Tom Jensen, director of polling at PPP, in a memo accompanying the poll results. Jensen said in April, McConnell led Grimes by 4 points and in December, his lead was 7 points.
The poll found 44 percent of Kentucky voters approve of McConnell while 47 percent disapprove, while the lesser known Grimes has 34 percent approving of her and 24 percent disapproving.
"With voters angrier at Washington than ever, it's problematic for McConnell that 50 percent of voters think 'he is part of the problem in Washington, D.C. and had forgotten about the people of Kentucky,' compared to only 40 percent who disagree with that sentiment," Jensen said.
Often leaders of the opposite party are targeted in re-election campaigns – Senate Majority Harry Reid faced strong opposition in 2010 fueled by his national role. He was able to squeak out re-election thanks in part to a weak opponent. McConnell does not yet have a declared opponent after actress Ashley Judd decided to take a pass on entering the race. Grimes, Kentucky's highest profile Democrat, says she is still deciding whether or not to take on McConnell.
The poll surveyed 556 Kentucky voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.