Rand Paul Tied With Democratic Opponent In Kentucky Senate Race

According to a new poll, Rand Paul’s lead in the Kentucky Senate race has evaporated:

Kentucky voters don’t think much of Rand Paul and as a result the race to replace Jim Bunning in the Senate is tied. Paul and Jack Conway are getting 43% each.

The more Kentucky voters get to know Rand Paul, the less they like him. When PPP first polled the race in December Paul’s favorability was a +3 spread at 26/23. By May it was a -7 spread at 28/35. Now it’s a -8 spread at 34/42. The national media attention Paul has received has hurt his cause with voters in the state- 38% say it has made them less likely to support Paul while 29% say it has made them more inclined to vote for him and 33% say it hasn’t had an impact on their attitude toward Paul one way or the other.

Jack Conway has almost the same level of favorability as Paul- 31%- with much lower negatives at 29%. Usually you would expect a candidate with a +2 favorability to be defeating one with a -8. But Rand Paul’s greatest asset in this race is Barack Obama. The President has only a 37% approval rating in Kentucky with 58% of voters disapproving of him. For the most part Democrats aren’t going to be winning any seats they don’t currently hold where the President’s that unpopular but Paul’s relative weakness is making this race more competitive than perhaps it should be.


The Kentucky Senate race may end up being decided by whether voters in the state find Barack Obama or Rand Paul more unpalatable- it should be a close one.

This poll, from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, differs from recent polls from Rasmussen and SurveyUSA so it’s unclear if we’re looking at an outlier, or a new trend.

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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.