Internal poll shows Daniel Cameron leading GOP field in Governor’s race

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is in good position to earn his party’s nomination for Governor, according to an internal poll release by Cameron’s campaign.

The poll, obtained by Kentucky Fried Politics, shows Cameron leading the GOP field with 39% support, a 31-point lead on the next closest challengers, Ryan Quarles and Kelly Craft at 8% support each.

Still, a full 38% of voters remain undecided, according to the released polling memo.

But Cameron’s lead expands when breaking down key Republican Primary constituencies. Among those who identify as pro-life voters, 44% support Cameron, compared to 8% for Quarles and 7% for craft. Similarly, National Rifle Association supporters and evangelicals largely back Cameron, both at 42% support. No challenger cracks 10% support regardless of demographic. 

And the poll shows Cameron with strong name recognition and positive favorability among voters, with 81% of Republicans saying they have heard of Cameron and 62% viewing him favorably (his unfavorable rating sat at just 8%.) Meanwhile, Quarles’ favorability sits at just 28% and Craft’s at 22%.

Incumbent Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is up for re-election this year and is facing a difficult race. Beshear first won election four years ago, defeating unpopular then-Governor Matt Bevin. Then, he won by just 0.4 percentage points, in a state that went for Donald Trump in 2016 by 26 points. That narrow margin could fade against a more popular incumbent. 

Still, a September poll from Carin-Hart-Yang, put Beshear’s favorability at 62%, the same as Cameron’s in the latest poll, and another poll from Morning Consult put Beshear’s favorability at 60%. He’s also banked $4.7 million for his re-election campaign as of the end of December. 

For now though, Cameron’s first test is on the Primary ballot, where several candidates are running. His toughest challenges will likely come from Quarles, the state’s currently Agriculture Commissioner, and Craft, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

Craft is so far the only Republican candidate to run television ads, and she’s banked $1.3 million for the race as of the end of 2022. Craft, who is married to billionaire Joe Craft, also has the ability to self-fund her campaign should it become necessary, though as of the most recent campaign finance filings, she’s only reported $32,000 in self-funding so far. 

Quarles’ campaign has also brought in significant funding, nearing the $1 million mark, and has the benefit of statewide elected office to boost name ID. 

Kentucky already has supermajorities in the Legislature and all but one statewide elected office is held by a Republican. The GOP is eyeing the Governor’s mansion to fully flip the state red. 

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