KY-03: Hard to Go After Yarmuth with Fletcher Approval at 24%
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Oct 26, 2007 at 11:07:52 AM EDT
Last fall Democrat John Yarmuth upset incumbent GOP Rep. Ann Northup in Kentucky's third congressional district, which she had represented for a Decade despite its slight Democratic lean. Republicans, who have recruited an at least somewhat credible challenger for Yarmuth, are hoping to retake the district next fall, and at least the Rothenberg Political Report and the Cook Political Report (.pdf) list the race among those potentially competitive this cycle.
But looking into some of the crosstabs from the new Research 2000 (.pdf) poll on the Kentucky Governor race I mentioned last night, a real question is raised about the Republicans' ability to play in district 3. According to the survey, Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher's approval rating is 38 percent across the state. In five of the state's six congressional districts, Fletcher's approval rating varies little, ranging from 37 percent in the sixth district (the only district in the state other than the third represented by a Democrat) to 44 percent in district 2.
However, in the third district Fletcher's approval rating sits at just 24 percent, with 74 percent disapproving -- 11 percent more than in any other district in the state. This difference, while on the border of statistical significance given the relatively small size of subsamples, does suggest that the Republican brand in the third district isn't particularly strong at this point. Combined with polling that shows that Hillary Clinton, for one, is quite competitive in the Bluegrass state (leading Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul and narrowly trailing Fred Thompson and John McCain), as is Al Gore (who leads Giuliani in the state, though within the margin of error), and one gets the impression that it's going to be a lot more difficult for the GOP to defeat Yarmuth this cycle than they might otherwise believe (even leaving aside Yarmuth's current $536,000 to $64,000 lead in cash-on-hand over his potential rival).
Update [2007-10-26 16:43:28 by Jonathan Singer]: The headline for this post has been fixed.