But the survey of 600 likely GOP voters shows that the incumbent governor is barely over 50% after years of quarreling with his own party.
Other statewide GOP races in Kentucky appear wide open, according to a poll released Tuesday by Cygnal, a national polling and research firm.
The Cygnal survey, conducted May 10 to May 12, has Bevin leading Goforth 56% to 18%, with 23% of voters still undecided.
“Governor Bevin is reaping the benefits of high name ID, which appears to be too much for Goforth to overcome this close to election day,” Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s president and founder, said in a news release.
Goforth, a farmer and pharmacist from East Bernstadt, was first elected to the General Assembly in a special election last year and is running with Lawrence County Attorney Mike Hogan.
“This won’t be a question of if Bevin will win on Tuesday; it’s a question of how high he can go above 50%,” said Chris Kratzer, Cygnal’s Vice President of Research and Analysis.
Still, while his primary prospects are looking fairly bright, the poll showed about 32 percent of GOP voters have an “unfavorable” opinion and 21 percent hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of Bevin.
Lexington real estate developer Ike Lawrence (1.6%) finished in third for GOP gubernatorial candidates, just ahead of realtor and Boone County bus driver and licensed realtor William Woods (1.3%).
Kentucky’s GOP primaries for attorney general, secretary of state and agricultural commissioner are much more competitive, according to the Cygnal poll, with more than 55% of voters unsure of who they will vote for May 21.
In the secretary of state race, Michael G. Adams, general counsel for the Republican Governors Association, has a slight advantage in the Cygnal survey over his closest competitor, Andrew English, who recently served as general counsel of Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
The Cygnal poll showed 10.8% of respondents prefer Adams, while 9.7% of likely GOP voters prefer English.
GOP candidates Stephen Knipper (6.6%) and Carl Nett (4.6%) followed up Adams and English in the survey results for the secretary of state race.
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was leading his challenger Bill Polyniak by 28 points, but 57.5% of voters are still undecided in the agricultural commissioner race, according to the Cygnal poll.
The Cygnal survey, which has a margin of error of 4%, also asked GOP primary voters about their support for legalizing medical marijuana and casino gaming in Kentucky.
More than 55% of likely GOP voters said they strongly support or somewhat support legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky, and 50.9% of survey respondents said strongly or somewhat support legalizing casino gambling.
The Cygnal survey also asked likely GOP voters if they agree or disagree with Bevin’s position on teachers’ pensions.
A little over 51% of voters said they strongly or somewhat agree with the governor’s stance on pensions, while about 35% strongly or somewhat disagree.
Thirty-five percent of Republican primary voters believe resolving the state’s pension crisis should be the top priority for elected officials in Kentucky, according to the Cygnal poll.
The second top concern, according to 25% of voters, is growing the economy and jobs.
Reach Billy Kobin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-582-7030. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe.