UPDATE: Young voters may swing Senate race
An internal Grimes survey last week by pollster Mark Mellman also showed Grimes with a two-point lead.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said the Bluegrass Poll results either are an anomaly or the first sign of a Grimes trend.
"You've got a lot of Kentuckians who say, 'I don't want a Democrat who's going to back Obama but I'm sick and tired of McConnell,' " he said. "The question is: How does it balance out on Election Day?"
University of Kentucky political scientist Stephen Voss cautioned that the 6-point swing to Grimes may not be real.
"I would take these results with a grain of salt, given that they deviate from everything we've seen recently," Voss said, referring to a number of other polls showing McConnell leading Grimes.
The Bluegrass Poll asked the opinions of 730 registered Kentucky voters, 632 of whom it determined to be likely voters in the Nov. 4 election. The latter group's responses were used to break down the Senate race, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
New poll shows Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell trailing Alison Grimes
Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, now leads the five-term senator 46 percent to 44 percent among likely voters, the survey found. Libertarian candidate David Patterson had 3 percent support in the poll, while 7 percent of likely voters said they were undecided.
While Grimes' advantage is within the poll's margin of error, it represents a 6-point swing to the Democrat since the survey was last conducted in late August.
The latest poll — conducted Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal, Louisville's WHAS-TV, The Lexington Herald Leader and Lexington's WKYT-TV — was dismissed by McConnell's campaign.
"After fourteen straight public polls all showing Sen. McConnell with a clear lead, this Bluegrass Poll is obviously an outlier," spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement. "We're very comfortable with where this race stands and are confident Sen. McConnell will be re-elected in November."
But Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst said the survey "reflects the overwhelming grassroots enthusiasm Alison and our campaign see everyday across the commonwealth."