C-J’s Bluegrass Poll: Beshear approval rating at 60 percent

The Courier-Journal’s Bluegrass Poll has found that 60 percent of Kentuckians approve of the job Gov. Steve Beshear is doing in his first year in office. 

Stephenie Steitzer with the C-J is reporting that in the poll of 800 state residents conducted last week – the paper’s first during Beshear’s term – the Democratic governor’s approval rating is 17 points higher than former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, the Republican who lost his re-election bid last year to Beshear.

Beshear is lagging behind former Gov. Paul Patton, the Democrat who served from 1995 to 2003, and had 67 percent approval during his first year in office. 

Beshear’s current approval level contrasts with a May poll conducted by SurveyUSA that found only 44 percent of Kentuckians approved of the job he is doing as governor. 

The Bluegrass Poll also found that 40 percent of Kentuckians believe they are worse off financially now than they were a year ago. 

Those results were obtained last week, before the failure of the $700 billion bailout for the financial industry on Monday and the following plummet of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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Beshear to make economic development announcement

Beshear will hold a press conference this morning on the back terrace of the state Capitol about his trip to Japan earlier this year to recruit businesses to the state. 

The press conference is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST. I’ll provide an update as soon as there’s more information.

Update…

Beshear announced that Fuel Total Systems, a Japanese-owned automotive supplier, will be opening a new 140,000-square-foot facility in Lebanon in Marion County that will mean 100 new full-time jobs. 

Here’s the press release.

Boswell, Guthrie take aim at each other in Elizabethtown debate

Finding common ground on policy issues like domestic energy production and opposition to the $700 billion financial industry bailout, the two men competing to represent Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional District took aim at each other’s legislative histories and political party ties during a debate in Elizabethtown Monday night. 

It was the first chance for Democrat David Boswell of Sorgho and Republican Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green to square off since last week’s barrage of television commercials that sparked claims of inaccuracy and dishonesty.

The two men are competing to replace U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis, a Cecilia Republican, in the U.S. House next year, and were in Lewis’s home county for the debate sponsored by the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise and the League of Women Voters. 

An ad produced by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that began airing in the Louisville media market last week was an issue from the start, with Guthrie contrasting last week’s “civil” televised debate with the “unethical ad” by a group he claims Boswell invited into the race.

The ad claimed the Guthrie family company, Trace Die Cast Inc., sent manufacturing work to Mexico, a claim Guthrie and Trace Die Cast say is false and misleading. 

“If you elect me, we’ll do away with Washington-style politics and I will go to Washington, D.C., to solve problems,” Guthrie said. 

Boswell responded that he resented being called dishonest, but would take the “high road.”

But Boswell later accused Guthrie of “whining about negative campaigning” but said “we can fire at one another getting” to Congress. Continue reading

Louisville station begins re-airing DCCC ad with “slight tweak”

A Louisville television station that pulled a controversial ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional District race has begun airing a revised version. 

According to Kyra Jennings with the DCCC, WAVE-TV put the revised ad into the rotation on Friday. 

The ad drops a portion of a claim regarding Republican Brett Guthrie’s family company, Trace Die Cast Inc., and its business relationship with a Mexican auto parts company. 

The ad the DCCC initially produced claimed that Trace Die Cast “shipped manufacturing work to Mexico instead of doing the job here.” The new version only claims that Trace Die Cast “shipped work to Mexico.”

The claim focuses on a Bowling Green Daily News article from 2004 in which a business professor is cited as having said Trace Die Cast sends its products to Mexico “for finishing, and then they are returned to Bowling Green for assembly.” 

Trace Die Cast and the National Republican Congressional Committee filed complaints with the four Louisville stations running the ad, which prompted WAVE-TV to pull the spot.

Here’s the edited spot – 

Boswell, Guthrie to debate Monday in Elizabethtown

The two men vying for Kentucky’s 2nd District seat in Congress will participate Monday in a debate in Elizabethtown hosted by the News-Enterprise and the League of Women Voters of Hardin County. 

The debate, which begins at 6 p.m. EST in the Science Building at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, will be the third time Democrat David Boswell of Sorgho and Republican Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green have met to compare views since the race began in January. 

The event also follows a week during which both have been active with new television ads and the Democratic Congressonal Campaign Comittee weighed in with a controversial ad. 

The pair appeared on KET this past Monday for a political forum and were in Elizabethtown Aug. 25 for a forum sponsored by the Hardin County Farm Bureau.

SurveyUSA poll finds Guthrie up by 6 in 2nd District race

The latest public poll in Kentucky’s 2nd District has Republican Brett Guthrie up by 6 points over his Democratic opponent David Boswell.

The poll conducted by SurveyUSA for WHAS-TV in Louisville and released today shows those surveyed favor Guthrie, a state senator from Bowling Green, to Boswell, a Sorgho state senator, by a margin of 49 to 43 percent, a reversal of the lead in the polling firm’s last survey in June that showed Boswell with ahead 47 to 43. 

The Guthrie camp downplayed the impact and importance of polls in response to these most recent results. 

“Polls go up and they go down,” Guthrie campaign manager Brian Smith said in a statement. “While polls will bounce around, Brett Guthrie’s integrity, work ethic and conservative values will remain consistent through Election Day and that’s why he’ll win this race.”

SurveyUSA sampled 592 likely voters on Wednesday and Thursday for the poll – that followed a controversial television ad produced by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that began airing in Louisville on Tuesday.

The ad made claims that Guthrie’s company Trace Die Cast Inc. sent manufacturing work to Mexico and was disputed by Guthrie, Trace Die Cast Inc. and the National Republican Congressional Committee. At least one of the four stations that was airing the ad pulled it from the air.

Boswell attributed Guthrie’s bump to the head start Guthrie had in running television commercials, but said he didn’t see any impact from the DCCC ad that began running this week. 

Guthrie aired his first ad on Sept. 12, while Boswell’s first ad didn’t hit the air until this Tuesday – the same day the DCCC ad began airing. 

“Obviously they had about a 10-day jump on us with media and online with their commercials,” Boswell said. “I would anticipate there would be some degree of fluctuation with that. … It’s not the end of the world.”

Compared to SurveyUSA’s previous poll, Guthrie made gains among male voters, who had previously been split between the two candidates but now favor Guthrie by 12 percentage points. 

Boswell has described himself as a conservative Democrat, and on Thursday received the endorsement of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats in Congress. 

But those surveyed this week who identified themselves as conservative largely preferred Guthrie by a margin of 75 to 17 percent, compared to 70 to 23 percent in the June poll. Boswell leads among those that describe themselves as moderate and liberal, two groups that accounted for 43 percent of those surveyed. 

Kentucky’s 2nd District is a Democratic district according to voter registration, but has sent a Republican to Congress since 1994. Evidence of those crossover voters was seen in today’s survey results that showed 21 percent of Democrats surveyed saying they would vote for Guthrie. Among Republicans surveyed, 8 percent said they would vote for Boswell, according to the poll.

A third poll from earlier this month by the Garin-Hart-Yang firm conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had Boswell with a 9-point lead over Guthrie, who takes the lead for the first time with this poll.

Hebert: Beshear hasn’t submitted disaster declaration request to D.C.

Mark Hebert with WHAS-TV in Louisville is reporting that Gov. Steve Beshear has yet to submit a disaster declaration request to the White House following the Sept. 14 windstorm that blew through the state. 

As Hebert notes, that’s curious news given Beshear’s press conference and a following release last week in which Beshear claimed he was requesting the declaration. 

Beshear said in the Sept. 19 press release titled “Governor Beshear Submits Presidential Disaster Declaration for Kentucky” that “this declaration is necessary to clear the way for federal reimbursement for work done by the state and local governments across the Commonwealth to clean up and make repairs in the aftermath of this horrific storm.”

Hebert reports that FEMA has already set up shop in Indiana to help with relief from the windstorm and begin accepting applications from individuals and businesses seeking federal help. That moved followed a letter requesting a disaster declaration by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to the White House. 

Beshear told Hebert on Wednesday that he was waiting for FEMA to complete its damage assessments around the state before sending the letter.

Update…

Beshear on Friday signed the letter to President Bush asking that 36 Kentucky counties be declared disaster areas, according to Hebert.