Speed Reads

2014 midterms

Poll: Mitch McConnell opens wide lead in re-election bid

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) looks increasingly safe in his re-election bid, as a new NBC News/Marist poll gives him a healthy eight-point lead over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In the poll, McConnell leads 47 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, continuing a recent trend that has seen him begin to open up some distance in the race. A handful of other polls last week gave McConnell a four- or five-point lead. Before McConnell thwarted a GOP primary challenger earlier this year, polls showed the race deadlocked, and a few gave Grimes a slim edge.

The latest New York Times election forecast — which does not yet factor in the NBC poll — gives McConnell a 93 percent chance of holding his seat.