A growing number Kentucky voters want Republicans to assume control of the governor's office and most will support the GOP in state legislative elections, according to a new survey released this week.
The results are a good sign for the GOP as prospective contenders for the 2015 gubernatorial contest and as the Democratic majority narrows in the House.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, asked more than 1,500 voters a number of questions rating public officials, weighing state elections and the outcome of possible presidential election matchups.
It shows Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, for instance, has a solid job approval rating among Kentuckians at 51 percent.
Those numbers buttress Beshear's embrace of Obamacare, which has raised his profile across the country for successfully implementing the president's health care law and signing up Kentuckians who—at least in name—say they dislike it.
When asked which party should come after Beshear's tenure, however, 44 percent of respondents said they would prefer a Republican compared to just 37 percent who said a Democrat.
That represents a two-point gain for the GOP compared to when PPP asked the same question last year.
Asked if the polling figures are a concern, Democratic Party Chair Dan Logsdon dismissed the survey.
"I believe these types of generic, general match-ups based on party affiliation are generally unreliable," he says.
A study last year found PPP was the most accurate polling agency during the 2012 election cycle, however.
The firm found the state GOP is also favored in terms of which party should take control of the General Assembly.
Asked who would receive their support in an election in their district today for the state legislature, 44 percent of voters favored Republicans compared to just 36 percent backing the Democrats.
Senate Republicans have a firm hold in their chamber, but House Democrats have seen their majority dwindle from 63-37 five years ago to a 54-46 margin going into the 2014 legislative session.
"Voters are increasingly getting in the mindset of giving Republicans a shot at governing Frankfort," says Republican Party of Kentucky Chair Steve Robertson. "A lot of voters have seen a consistent effort out of our state Senate majority to deal with some real policy solutions and then go to the other side of the building where bills are buried in committee."
"And the one individual who has to get credit for this is President Barack Obama, because Kentuckians have seen what national Democrats have been giving them and I don't think they like it."
Read the full PPP results here: