McConnell, challenger neck-and-neck in poll

A new poll shows the Kentucky Senate race is essentially tied and that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) remains deeply unpopular in his home state.

The survey, from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, shows Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes lagging both McConnell and his conservative primary challenger, Matt Bevin, by one point.

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McConnell takes 43 percent support among Kentucky voters, while Lundergan Grimes takes 42 percent support and the other 15 percent are undecided.

That’s a shift in favor of McConnell since the last PPP survey, conducted in October for the Democratic group Americans United for Change, which gave the Democrat a 2-point lead.

In this poll, against Bevin, Lundergan Grimes takes 38 percent support, with another 24 percent undecided.

About a third of voters still don’t have an opinion on the Democrat, who's slightly underwater in popularity after taking a pummeling from GOP outside groups since she launched her campaign. Thirty-seven percent of respondents have an unfavorable view of her, while 31 percent of respondents view her favorably.

Bevin fares worse, with nearly twice as many people viewing him unfavorably as favorably. But he’s got more room to grow, with two-thirds of respondents still unsure about him.

And McConnell remains deeply unpopular in his home state, with 61 percent of voters disapproving of his job performance.

It's those nearly two-thirds of Kentuckians unhappy with their senator that give Democrats hope for flipping Kentucky in 2014. It's the party's top chance at a pickup in a cycle that offers Democrats few chances for offense.

But one public figure remains even more unpopular than McConnell in Kentucky: President Obama. Sixty-four percent of Kentucky voters disapprove of him in the new poll.

Republicans believe that Kentuckians' distaste for the president will outweigh their dissatisfaction with McConnell.

The survey was conducted among 1,509 Kentucky voters from Dec. 12-15.