Kentucky Senate: Rand Paul 53% Jack Conway 40%

If the latest numbers from Public Policy Polling are correct, it looks like Rand Paul may be almost done closing the deal in Kentucky:

Independents have moved toward Rand Paul in droves over the last month and a half and as a result he’s built his lead in the Kentucky Senate race up to 13 points at 53-40.

In a September PPP poll Paul led by 7 overall while also holding a 7 point lead with independents. Now that advantage with independents is a whooping 39 points at 66-27. There’s been virtually no movement among Democrats or Republicans over that period of time so most of the movement in the race can be attributed to that shift.

There’s been no change in Rand Paul’s favorability numbers in the wake of the controversial ‘Aqua Buddha’ ad. He’s at a net +6 (49/43), virtually identical to his +5 (45/40) a month ago. Jack Conway has seen his numbers plunge though. Where before voters split evenly in their assessments of him, giving him a favorability of 36/36, they now view him mostly in a negative light at -13 (39/52).

There’s little doubt the ad has backfired. 56% of voters say they think it was inappropriate to only 15% who think it was alright. Even Democrats feel by a 41/24 spread that it crossed the line and perhaps relating back to Conway’s huge new deficit with independents they think it was wrong by a 68/7 spread.

Of course, considering that Barack Obama has a 34% approval rating in the state, it was going to be an uphill battle for any Democrat in Kentucky this year.

Absent something truly unexpected when it comes to turnout, this one seems to be in the GOP column. Get ready for Senator Rand Paul.

(For those so inclined, full poll results are here)

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Michael says:

    Was it ever in doubt?..given that Conway is a uber Obama lib running in KY.

  2. Michael Adams says:

    One of the reasons that democrats in red states have such a hard time against their republican counterparts, is the inability to confront the insidious racial undertow in the republican rhetorical playbook. The word “Obamacare” is a classic example of this; it’s demonization by personification of bill, though proposed by Obama, that in the end was modified and made law by congress. Unfortinately, our low information and predisposed electorate, generally doesn’t take the time to make those distinctions, which is fine with the GOP.

    During the recent debate, Conway allowed Paul to incessantly chime this personification of an important bill, though flawed by politics, without a real challenge to what that personificaton is intended to do-to keep red state voters perennially wedged by their own racial predisposition, which is now as unconscious and latent as any dormant pathogen. This may explain the reason why many democrats may have found it easier to run away from their president, and their own accomplishments, than to defend against a pathology that they themselves may not have reconciled, nor truly undersatnd-the disease of racism.

  3. wr says:

    Maybe he’ll bring his army of thugs to stomp on the heads of Democratic senators. And if his ideological buddy Miller gets elected from Alaska, they can station Brownshirts throughout the Senate with clubs to make sure everyone votes their way. Because this is freedom!

  4. Alex Knapp says:

    wr – I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Paul for the actions of a couple of hotheads among his supporters. Miller is a different story.

  5. Tano says:

    Last month, PPP had Paul up by 7, now they have him up by 13.
    Last month, Rasmussen had Paul up by 15, now they have it at 7.

    Once again, you have this penchant for seizing on some polls and seeing them as objectively accurate, and then you come to grand conclusions about what is really going on based on them. While other polls, showing different tendencies or results, you ignore. The one constant seems to be that it is GOP favoring polls or tendencies that you trumpet.

    Mason Dixon has it at 5 points. It is still a stretch for Conway, as it has been for a long time, but one would need more evidence to claim that Paul is closing the deal.

  6. The polls are all taken at different points in time. Rasmussen’s latest poll was taken a week ago, only a day after the whole Aqua Buddha ad controversy erupted so it may not have fully taken the impact of that on the public into account.

    Do I think that Paul will beat Conway by 13 points ? Not necessarily, but it’s fairly clear at this point that Paul will beat Conway.

  7. wr says:

    Alex Knapp — I’d feel more generous towards Paul if he’d actually criticized the stomping of this woman, instead of phumphing about how passions are high on both sides.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @wr: “I’d feel more generous towards Paul if he’d actually criticized the stomping of this woman”

    But I gather from Doug’s morning post on this that the woman wasn’t actually “stomped” at all but fell down and got stepped on. Given that she was a provocateur there to stage an embarrassing photo-op, and apparently wasn’t injured, I’m not sure why Paul is obligated to “criticize” what appears to have been an accident consequential only in that it succeeded in getting this publicity hungry woman the publicity she craved.

  9. wr,

    More to the point I haven’t seen any statement that the Paul campaign has issued about these incidents at all. Which strikes me as appropriate given that there is obviously an ongoing investigation

  10. Tano says:

    “But I gather from Doug’s morning post on this that the woman wasn’t actually “stomped” at all but fell down and got stepped on”

    huh? Didn’t you watch the video? She was tackled and wrestled to the ground. Then, with her head on the ground, the other guy deliberately placed his foot on her head and pushed down hard.
    An accident? Thats crazy James. Go watch the video.

  11. I stand corrected regarding the Paul campaign issuing a statement:

    Paul’s campaign released a statement calling the altercation “incredibly unfortunate” and expressed relief that the woman was not injured.

    “Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse, and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election,” the statement said.-

    Sounds fine to me

  12. James Joyner says:

    @Tano: I was going by the description in the quoted news account. But, yes, the video makes it clear that it wasn’t an accident.