Poll: Andy Beshear so far dominates Kentucky Governor’s race

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is in good position for re-election, according to a Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey conducted Jan. 18-23 among 625 registered Kentucky voters.

The poll finds Beshear leading all top GOP candidates, including Attorney General Daniel Cameron, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon.

Cameron has the strongest showing against Beshear, according to the poll, at 49% to 40% in Beshear’s favor.

Beshear has double-digit leads over all other leading GOP contenders, topping Craft 57% to 32%; Quarles 52% to 35%; and Harmon 53% to 33%.

Beshear’s strong showing in the poll may be attributable to his approval rating, which sits at 61%. Only 29% of respondents disapproved of Beshear’s job performance, while 10% were unsure.

Beshear saw a slight uptick in support from one year ago, from 60% to 61%, and his disapproval rating decreased, from 32% to 29%.

That uptick in support is even more pronounced from two years ago, when Beshear’s approval was at just 55% and his disapproval at 36%.

Beshear also boasts the strongest name recognition, with only 4% of respondents indicating they don’t recognize Beshear’s name. Of the 96% who do, 52% have favorable recognition, 21% are neutral and only 23% have an unfavorable recognition.

Cameron follows with 83% name recognition, including 30% with a favorable opinion and 35% with a neutral opinion. Only 18% of those surveyed have an unfavorable recognition of Cameron.

Craft, Quarles and Harmon are all largely unknown, with 53%, 57% and 61% not knowing the candidates, respectively.

Among only GOP Primary voters, Cameron maintains the strongest name recognition in the Republican field, with only 15% not knowing who he is. Again, Craft, Quarles and Harmon trail, with 38%, 45% and 51% of GOP Primary voters not recognizing their names, respectively.

Cameron not only performs best against Beshear, he’s also the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination for Governor. Cameron leads Craft by 20-points, at 39% to 13%. Quarles and Harmon don’t even hit double digit support in the GOP field, at 8% and 5% respectively. However, a significant numbers of GOP voters remain undecided, at 28%.

In a hypothetical matchup between Beshear and Cameron in the General Election, Beshear holds a significant advantage among women, with 52% support compared to Cameron’s 37%. Beshear also enjoys broader cross party support, with 19% of surveyed Republicans saying they support him. Meanwhile, only 8% of Democrats back Cameron.

However, Cameron boasts stronger support among independents, at 46%, compared to 36% for Beshear.

The poll isn’t the only thing going for Beshear — he also boasts a $4.7 million war chest as of the end of 2022 — but the state’s demographics are still difficult to overcome.

When Beshear was first elected Governor, he beat then-Governor Matt Bevin, who was unpopular. He won by just 0.4 percentage points, a feat considering the state went for Donald Trump in 2016 by 26 points. But that narrow margin could quickly erode if facing a more popular candidate.

Beshear is currently the only statewide elected Democrat.

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