LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WATE) — Just weeks ahead of the Kentucky primary election, Attorney General Daniel Cameron is favored over his Republican opponents to race against incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, a new WATE/Emerson poll shows.
In the poll, Cameron leads former United Nations ambassador Kelly Craft 30.1% to 23.9% among likely Republican primary voters. While 14.9% said they would vote for state agriculture commissioner Ryan Quarles, more were undecided (20.7%).
Respondents found Cameron to be the most favorable Republican candidate. Results showed 62.9% had a favorable view of him, 15.6% had an unfavorable view, and 21.5% were unsure or had never heard of him. Meanwhile, Craft had 46.8% favorable votes, 20.4% unfavorable, and 32.6% who were unsure or hadn’t heard of her. Quarles had 39.1% favorable votes, 15% unfavorable votes, and nearly half (45.9%) were unsure or had never heard of him.
Cameron exhibited consistently strong support across all age groups. Craft and Quarles, however, had distinct voter age preferences, with Craft’s support increasing among older voters and Quarles being more popular with younger voters.
Cameron led among voters under 50 with 31%, followed by 29% for those aged 50-64 and 31% among voters over 65. Craft captured 17% of the under-50 group, 25% of the 50-64 bracket, and 33% among those over 65. Quarles garnered 21% of those under 50, which then declined to 13% for voters aged 50-64 and dropped further to 9% among those over 65.
The respondents’ candidate preferences revealed a notable division along gender lines within the electorate. The margin between male voters was tight between Cameron and Craft, with each drawing the support of 31.4% and 29.4%, respectively. Meanwhile, 18.3% of male respondents were undecided, and 11.2% were in favor of Quarles. Cameron stretched a 10-point lead among female voters, 29.0% to 18.8%, over Craft. Quarles received 18.4% of the female vote, whereas 23% of females were undecided.
The economy was top of mind for many poll respondents, as 41.5% said it was the top issue facing Kentucky. Threats to democracy came in second at 15.7%, and education came in third at 10.7%.
The poll found 32.6% of likely Kentucky Republican primary voters believed Cameron would be best for the economy, followed by Craft at 29.8% and Quarles at 16.5%.
Those aged 18-49 said Cameron (35.4%) was the best candidate for Kentucky’s economy, followed by Craft (23.9%), and Quarles (21.3%). In the 50-64 age group, Craft led at 29.9%, closely followed by Cameron at 28.4%, while more respondents preferred “someone else” (19.2%) over Quarles (16.2%). Voters 65 and older also viewed Craft as the best candidate for the economy, giving him 37.1% of their support, with Cameron coming in second (33.4%), and Quarles (10.7%) trailing behind “someone else” (13.5%).
Male voters (36.2%) believed Craft to be the best GOP candidate for Kentucky’s economy, followed by Cameron (33.6%) and Quarles (13%). Female voters thought Cameron was the best fit for Kentucky’s economy (31.8%), followed by Craft (23.9%) and Quarles (20%).
MASON-DIXON VS. WATE/EMERSON COLLEGE
When comparing the WATE/Emerson College poll to the Mason-Dixon poll released in January, the top three GOP candidate standings remained the same: Cameron, Craft, and Quarles, respectively. The voting margin, however, has changed.
In January, the Mason-Dixon poll had Cameron leading all GOP candidates with a 20-point lead over Craft (39%-13%). Quarles held a single-digit support margin with 8% of the votes.
Now, according to the WATE/Emerson College poll, that 20-point margin between Cameron and Craft has shortened to approximately six points: 30.1%-23.9%. Quarles’ support has increased since January, going from 8% (Mason-Dixon) to 14.9% (WATE/Emerson).
The number of undecided likely Kentucky Republican primary voters in the WATE/Emerson poll was down 7% from January’s Mason-Dixon poll, in which 28% of voters were undecided.
MORE POLL RESULTS:
More data from the WATE/Emerson poll will be released at 6 a.m. EST Friday, including the results of who Kentucky poll respondents favor for the Republican presidential nominee ahead of the 2024 primary.
Methodology: The WATE/Emerson College poll was conducted April 10-11, 2023. The sample consisted of 900 very likely Republican Primary Voters, with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, and education based on 2023 turnout modeling. Turnout modeling is based on US Census parameters, and Kentucky voter registration and voter turnout data (KY SOS).
It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and know with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.
Data was collected by contacting cell phones via SMS-to-web, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, and a consumer list of emails.
A copy of the full poll results will be available at 6 a.m. EST on Friday, April 14.