Senate Minority Leader McConnell holding a small lead

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is clinging to a four-point lead over Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford, although less than half of Kentucky voters say they have a favorable opinion of McConnell, a Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Poll shows.

McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, would receive 47 percent of the vote compared to 43 percent for Lunsford if the election were held today.

The telephone survey of 600 likely voters was conducted between Oct. 19 and 21 by Research 2000 of Olney, Md. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

While the race has clearly tightened over the last five months, McConnell's level of support has remained relatively unchanged. Forty-eight percent of likely voters said they had a favorable or very favorable view of him — the same percentage as a Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Poll conducted in May.

In the new poll, 48 percent of people said they had a negative view of McConnell, which was slightly higher than the 45 percent of respondents who reported having an unfavorable view of Lunsford, a Louisville businessman.

That's a high number for a challenger and could be the biggest reason for Lunsford's inability to pull ahead of McConnell in any public polls so far, said Del Ali, president of Research 2000.

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