This new poll asked 1,000 likely voters or people who have already voted and showed an equal split of support, with 47% supporting Beshear and 47% supporting Cameron.
The poll showed very few undecided remain in the race; just 4% of those asked were undecided. With Beshear and Cameron sharing equal portions of support, a narrow sliver of undecided voters could decide the election.
The poll asked those undecided voters which candidate they lean toward, and with their support accounted for, Cameron held a slight advantage, with 49% supporting him compared to Beshear’s 48%.
In October 2023’s poll of 450 registered voters, Emerson College found Beshear leading with 49% support in the upcoming November gubernatorial election, while a third of voters (33%) planned to support Cameron.
But since that poll, Beshear’s support decreased by two points, from 49% to 47%, while support for Cameron has increased by 14 points, from 33% to 47%.
Undecided voters decreased by nine points, from 13% undecided to 4% ahead of the Tuesday election.
“Cameron appears to have gained ground by consolidating Republican voters who supported former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In October, 54% of Trump supporters supported Cameron; now, as election day approaches, that number has jumped to 79% – a 25-point increase. Notably, October’s poll was of registered voters in Kentucky, while this final election poll includes only those who are very likely or have already voted in Kentucky,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling.
Support for Cameron has increased the most among older voters in Kentucky since the October poll. A majority of voters (58%) ages 50–69 now support Cameron for governor, a 22-point increase from October, when Cameron held 36% support among the same age group.
Beshear’s support among 50- to 69-year-olds dropped 9 points, from 49% to 40%.
Independent voters remain split between the two candidates; 48% support Cameron, while 46% support Beshear. Six percent would vote for someone else.
Beshear previously held high approval ratings. In August, Morning Consult Pro found him to be the fifth most-liked governor in the U.S. with an approval rating of 64%, with him having a higher approval rating among Republicans than any other Democrat governor.
During the May primary election, Cameron ran with the support of former President Donald Trump and finished with nearly 50% of votes in a 12-candidate race; his closest challenger, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, only secured about 22%.
Voters on no-exception abortion laws
The poll also addressed the abortion question, a hot topic during this election, showing that three-quarters (75%) of Democrats in Kentucky oppose the current abortion laws, while nearly half of independents (47%) said the same.
“Majorities of both men and women voters oppose the abortion law,” Kimball said. “Fifty-two percent of men and 58% of women voters oppose the laws, while support is relatively similar: 30% of male voters and 28% of women voters support the abortion laws.”
The poll showed Republicans are more divided on the issue, with a plurality (42%) supporting the no-exception abortion laws, while 37% oppose and 21% are unsure.
“There is the strongest opposition to the abortion law among voters under 30 at 68%, generally decreasing with age, until voters reach 70 years of age, among whom a 52% majority oppose the law,” Kimball noted. “Support for state abortion laws is highest among voters ages 50 to 59 at 37%.”
A significant majority (83%) of voters who support Beshear for governor oppose the state’s
no-exception abortion laws. In comparison, a slight majority (51%) of voters who support Cameron support the state’s abortion laws.
The Emerson College Polling Kentucky poll was conducted Oct. 30–Nov. 2, 2023. The sample consisted of n=1,000 likely voters or those who have already voted, with a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, party registration, and education based on turnout modeling based on US Census parameters, and Kentucky voter registration and 2023 turnout modeling based on by regions. Data was collected by contacting a list of landlines via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and emails provided by Aristotle, cell phones via SMS-to-web, along with an online panel of voters provided by Centiment.
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.
This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling, and the questions included in this release are all sponsored by Emerson College. All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross-tabulations, can be found here.