Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ernie Hits the Skids: No Money, No Votes, No Love

Incumbent Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher hit rock-bottom this week under the weight of three pieces of bad news:

  • 27 days from Election Day, he's still 16 points behind Democratic Challenger Steve Beshear. Ernie's gained three points in the last month - at that rate, he'll be tied with Beshear about three months after Steve's inauguration.
  • He raised $3.5 million in the four months since the primary. OK, Kentucky's a small and poor state, TV time's pretty cheap, that's not too bad - whoops! Beshear raised $4.9 million in the same period. That's a Democratic challenger out-fundraising the Republican incumbent by 40 percent.
  • Two more Republicans - a former state senator and former state representative endorsed Beshear. In August, Republican Larry Hopkins, whom Fletcher succeeded as Sixth District Congressman, also endorsed Beshear.

Mark Hebert has the results of the latest poll. (More after the jump.)

Governor Fletcher has narrowed the margin in the governor's race, but not much.

The latest SurveyUSA/WHAS 11 poll shows Beshear leading Fletcher 56%-40%. Last month, Beshear led by 19 points in the same poll. The survey shows Beshear losing some support among male voters. In September, 58% of likely male voters planned to vote for Beshear. This month, it's 53% with Fletcher jumping up to 44% support among males. Beshear still has 59% of the female vote. In a strange twist, Fletcher loses support among folks who identify themselves as Republicans while gaining ground among Demcrats.

GOP voters: Beshear 30% Fletcher 65%
Dem. Voters: Beshear 76% Fletcher 22%

The only major bad news for Fletcher in this poll is that he's still far behind with 4 weeks to go. He gained among voters 50 years old and older and picked up support in the Louisville and western regions of the state, staying steady elsewhere.

Hebert neglects to mention that Ernie gained only three points after a month of non-stop attack ads that accused Beshear of drowning kittens, torturing puppies, throwing old people out into the street and inviting Osama bin Laden to Fancy Farm.

OK, they weren't quite that bad, but they were full of lies so blatant they failed to rise even to the level of truthiness. His anti-gambling ads are backfiring because a majority of voters want expanded gambling, and every time he accuses Beshear of causing the Kentucky Central collapse, yet another dignified Republican judge comes out of retirement to defend Steve and denounce Ernie's lies.

As for the money, anybody remember any time in the last 30 years that a Democratic challenger out-raised a Republican incumbent by a buck-forty, much less $1.4 million?

The endorsement situation is ugly, but the race not to be the last rat off the sinking Criminal Ship Ernie is worse.

Did I say three pieces of bad news? I meant four. Turns out Ernie's been illegally canoodling with the Republican Governor's Association on ads the RGA ran for him. The very exact same footage, complete with an "I (heart) UK" drawing in the background, was used by the RGA in ads for Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal.

For Kentucky Democrats, there's only one question left:

What WILL I wear to the Inaugural Ball?

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass