Polls finds Chandler slightly ahead in Congressional cliffhanger

Like many Democrats across the country, Rep. Ben Chandler is in a real dogfight this November election.

If the newest Kentucky Poll is any indication, the race between Chandler and Andy Barr in the sixth Congressional district could be another election night cliffhanger.

The poll found 48 percent of likely voters plan to vote to send Chandler back to Washington. Forty-four percent said they'll vote for Barr, the Republican challenger and a one-time deputy general counsel to former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

“But factor in those undecided and a four-point percent margin of error and the race could swing either way,” said WKYT political editor Bill Bryant.

Commissioned by WKYT and The Lexington Herald-Leader, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C., interviewed 500 registered sixth district voters October 15-19.

Chandler was one of the first high profile Kentuckians to endorse Barack Obama for president. Obama went on to lose Kentucky.

The Kentucky Poll found the President along with his healthcare reform and stimulus plans remain fiercely unpopular in Kentucky. They're all points Barr and Republicans are hoping to capitalize on in the battle for the sixth district.

The sixth district is one of two Kentucky districts Republicans are eyeing as they look to capture 39 seats to retake control of the House of Representatives.

The races in Kentucky's other four districts, all in the hands of Republicans, are not expected to be closely contested. Kentucky's polls are among the first to close nationally meaning the outcome of the sixth district race may be an indicator for how the night will go across the country.

In the Kentucky Poll, Chandler scored best among women and fellow Democrats. Not surprisingly, Barr's base is the GOP. Men and independents seemed evenly split between the two candidates.

Breaking apart the results by region, the majority of Fayette County voters were for Chandler. But in all the other counties in the sixth district, Chandler and Barr are running neck and neck.

The poll also asked voters for their approval rating of Chandler. Forty-six percent said they approve of how he's handled his job over the past two years, 38 percent disapprove, and 18 percent weren't sure.

The sixth district includes all or parts of Anderson, Boyle, Bourbon, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Jessamine, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Powell, Scott, and Woodford counties.

Poll Methodology

This poll was conducted on behalf of WKYT and The Lexington Herald-Leader by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. from October 15-19. A total of 500 registered Kentucky voters in the sixth Congressional district were interviewed by telephone. All said they were likely to vote in the November general election. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the district. Quotas were assigned to reflect voter turn-out by county.

The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if the entire population were sampled. The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or regional grouping.

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