U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and potential Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes are tied in a new poll of Kentucky voters, though state Republicans are calling the results a "sham."
The poll, by Public Policy Polling, stated that McConnell and Grimes were each supported by 45 percent of Kentucky voters. In April, a PPP poll showed Grimes trailing by 4 points. In December, she trailed by 7 points.
The PPP poll was paid for by the Senate Majority PAC, an organization founded with the help of Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid, the current majority leader.
Republicans are characterizing the results as "push polling"—a poll that tries to influence answers through the questions asked.
The PPP poll's critics say the questions directly comment about McConnell, his tenure in the Senate or some of his votes, rather than asking more simple questions as scientific polls often do.
The former Miss America has joined a list of half a dozen party activists or leaders waiting for Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to decide whether she'll run in 2014 against Mitch McConnell for his U.S. Senate seat.
If Grimes run, she's likely to get enough support to clear out the field. Otherwise, the Democrats have potential candidates known within political circles, but who may be not instantly recognizable with the majority of voters—former state Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gorman or environmental activist Tom FitzGerald, for example.
Without Grimes, Democrats may find themselves with a crowded primary—and that would cause problems in a bid to unseat McConnell, who polls suggest is vulnerable, says Dewey Clayton, a political scientist for the University of Louisville.