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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Poll: McConnell no lock for re-election in Kentucky

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is going to have his hands full running for re-election in Kentucky next year, according to a poll released Tuesday.

And the same poll showed the junior senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, is far more popular among Kentucky voters than McConnell, the leader of Senate Republicans.

Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based polling firm, asked 1,052 Kentucky voters who they would support in hypothetical match-up between McConnell and three potential Democratic challengers. McConnell lead in all three match-ups, but, in two cases, his lead was in the single digits.

According to the poll, McConnell leads Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes by four percentage points (45 percent to 41 percent), former congressman Ben Chandler by five percentage points (46 percent to 41 percent) and Owensboro businessman Ed Marksberry by 11 percentage points (46 percent to 35 percent).

So far, Marksberry is the only announced Democratic candidate in the 2014 Senate race. Actress and activist Ashley Judd considered a run, but decided against it.

McConnell's job approval rating among Kentucky voters is not good, the poll said. McConnell's job approval is at 36 percent, while 54 percent disapprove of the job he is doing.

Paul's job approval number was considerably higher - 46 percent, with 39 percent saying they disapprove of his job performance.

The poll, conducted between last Friday and Sunday, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. The poll, conducted through automated phone calls, was not paid for by any candidate or political organization.

You can read the full poll here.