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Wed November 9, 2011
Kentucky Republicans Say Polls May Have Hurt Voter Turnout
By Stu Johnson/KPR
Murray, KY – As Kentucky Republicans examine the results of yesterday's election, they hope to find an explanation for their loss. Democrats won five of Kentucky's six statewide races, including a 20-point victory by Governor Steve Beshear. GOP Senator Damon Thayer thinks polls that gave Beshear a double digit lead could have hurt voter turnout.
"You wonder if polling is used sometimes to try and manipulate public opinion and polling is here to stay... but you just wonder if the public polling is something we really need... it's an important tool for campaigns to use... for private polling... but you sometimes wonder if private polling has a negative result," said Thayer.
Still, Thayer wouldn't support any legislative effort to do away with political polls. The Georgetown senator says it would be a restriction on free speech rights
Perhaps an evolution underway within the Tea Party reduced much of its traditional support for Republican candidates. Tea member Frank Byron says much of the tea party's focus these days is on increasing civic engagement.
"We have one gentleman that I know that goes to every urban county council meeting and takes notes and talks to people and speaks up and he wasn't doing that two years ago," said Byron.
Byron says it starts with a better understanding of the American Constitution. He predicts Tea Party membership will continue to grow. Byron estimates their membership inside Kentucky at about 100 thousand people .