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Bunning trails challengers in early U.S. Senate poll

Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning lags behind potential Democratic challengers in the 2010 Senate race, and just 28 percent of Kentucky voters who responded in a new poll like the job the two-term senator is doing.

The survey, conducted by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, shows that Bunning would trail U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Versailles, state Attorney General Jack Conway, state Auditor Crit Luallen and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, all Democrats.

Mongiardo, who narrowly lost to Bunning in 2004, has announced he is seeking the seat again in 2010, but the others haven't made any firm commitments. Conway has made public rumblings in recent weeks that he is close to jumping in the race.

The firm polled 610 Kentucky voters on April 2 and 3, and the survey has a margin of error of 4 percent. The survey also tested how other possible GOP candidates would fare against the potential Democrats in the field.

Numbers for Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, were similar to Bunning's results. Secretary of State Trey Grayson had the highest favorability rating among Republicans, at 49 percent.

He received slightly more support than Luallen and Mongiardo but trailed Chandler and Conway.