The final Emerson College Polling/Fox 56 Lexington survey of Kentucky Republican primary voters finds Attorney General Daniel Cameron with 33% support, followed by former UN Ambassador Kelly Craft with 18%. Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles trails with 13%, and Eric Deters holds 10%. Thirteen percent are undecided ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
Since last month’s survey of the Republican primary, Cameron has gained three points on the ballot test while Craft has lost six percentage points and Quarles lost two percentage points. The 13% of undecided voters were asked which candidate they lean towards, and when that vote is added to initial support, Cameron’s support increases to 35%, while Craft holds 18%, and Quarles increases to 15%.
“Cameron has grown his support amongst women, from 29% in April to 36% in the current poll,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said. “Men have shifted away from Craft by 10 points since April, 29% to 19%. Deters has gained 7 points among men this month going from 5% to 12%.”
Among the GOP voters who tuned into Tuesday night’s Fox56 debate between Cameron, Deters, and Quarles, a plurality (37%) think Cameron performed the strongest, while 21% think Deters and Quarles performed strongest respectively. Twenty-two percent thought no candidate performed strongest.
“Craft opting-out of Tuesday’s debate might not have helped her candidacy, considering 86% of Republican likely voters find it important that candidates running for Governor participate in a debate prior to the election,” Kimball noted.
Since the April GOP Kentucky survey, Cameron has maintained a 63% favorable rating among Republican voters, and Craft’s favorability has remained statistically stagnant at 46%, from 47% last month. Both Craft and Cameron’s unfavorable ratings have increased, Cameron from 16% to 21%, and Craft, more significantly, from 21% to 37%.
In a hypothetical 2024 Republican Primary, former President Donald Trump holds the majority of support with 70%, an eight-point increase since April, from 62%. DeSantis follows with 14%, a nine point decrease since last month, from 23% to 14%.
Kimball notes, “The Trump endorsement’s impact has increased since last month: 48% of Republican voters say Trump’s endorsement of a candidate makes them more likely to vote for that candidate. Forty-one percent say it makes no difference on their vote, and 12% find it makes them less likely to support a candidate.
The economy remains the top issue for Kentucky Republican likely voters, 48% identify it as the top issue facing the state, followed by education (10%), crime (10%), “threats to democracy” (8%) immigration (8%), and healthcare (7%).
When asked the most important issue in Kentucky’s public schools, 42% responded “wokeism,” 20% classroom/student safety, 16% teacher pay and 11% teacher shortages.
A majority of Republican likely voters (79%) think Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was not legitimate, while 21% think it was legitimate. When asked what presents the greatest threat to elections in their view: foreign interference, voting machines malfunctioning, voter fraud, suppression of individuals from voting, or if there are no threats to elections, 59% say voter fraud is the top threat, while 12% find foreign interference and voting machine malfunctioning to be the greatest threat respectively, and 6% find suppression and say there are no threats respectively.
The Emerson College Polling/Fox 56 Lexington poll was conducted May 10-12, 2023. The sample consisted of 500 very likely Republican Primary Voters, with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 4.3 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 by regions(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 an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, and an online panel.
This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling, and sponsored by Nexstar Media. All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross tabulations can be found here.