Beshear’s lead in polls doesn’t slow campaigning

Democrats and Republicans may agree the only poll that counts is the one taken today at voting booths across the state, but in a final poll released yesterday by SurveyUSA, Democratic challenger Steve Beshear led Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher by 20 points.

Despite Beshear’s consistent lead in the SurveyUSA and the Lexington Herald-Leader/Action News 36 Election polls, Fletcher’s campaign said the numbers are wrong.

“The polls have been all over the map,” said Fletcher spokesman Jason Keller. “We think this race is much tighter than these polls reflect.”

Beshear was not relying on his lead and spent yesterday traveling across the state to encourage people to get out and vote, said spokeswoman Vicki Glass.

“He knows the only vote that counts is the one on Election Day,” she said.

In the first SurveyUSA poll after the gubernatorial primaries in May, Beshear led Fletcher by 28 points, according to the May 25 results at In a Sept. 11 poll, Beshear remained ahead of Fletcher by 19 points, according to the Web site.

“There is the usual sampling error, which is usually three to four percentage points,” said Mark Peffley, a political science professor. “In this case, however, Beshear’s 20 point lead over Fletcher in the polls has not fluctuated much for several months, which leads one to believe the margin is steady and reliable and that voters have made up their minds.”

Peffley, who specializes in public opinion, mass media, racial attitudes and political tolerance, said a 20-point lead is a “landslide margin of possibly historical proportions.”

“However the polls are estimates based on guesstimates of who is likely to vote,” he said.

Republicans at UK are remaining confident in Fletcher’s chances despite Beshear’s apparent lead.

“The polls can say we’re down 50 points, we’re still going to keep working,” said Thomas Roberts, president of UK’s College Republicans.

College Democrats of Kentucky President Richard Becker, a history and political science junior at UK, said Sunday that a strong push for Beshear throughout the last 72 hours would play a critical role in election results.

“We want Steve Beshear to not only win but have the type of win that will give him the capital to get done the things he needs to do to help get the state back on track,” he said.

Staff writer Juliann Vachon contributed to this report.