Rand Paul continues to hold a dominating lead over Trey Grayson in the Republican primary for the Senate from Kentucky. It's 46-28 this month.
What's less clear is what's driving Paul's continuing dominance in the race. He does have a big lead with Republicans who think the party's too liberal, voters unhappy with the general direction of the party, and folks who consider themselves members of the 'Tea Party. But he has similarly large advantages among voters who think the party is ideologically 'about right,' folks who are happy with the current direction of the GOP, and Republicans who don't consider themselves members of the 'Tea Party.' So there's something more to Paul's current advantage than the conventional wisdom that he's effectively riding the wave of the 'Tea Party' movement.
Paul's lead also can't be chalked up to a large level of support in Kentucky for his father's unique brand of Libertarian Republicanism. Ron Paul earns only 6% in a look ahead to the 2012 GOP contest for President, well behind Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney.
Nor can it be attributed to a repudiation of Mitch McConnell, who although he's just now officially endorsed in the race has clearly been behind Grayson from day 1. Asked whether they have a higher opinion of McConnell or Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republicans pick the Senate Minority Leader by a 67-16 margin. If Paul holds this lead for the last two weeks and does indeed win the primary there will surely be a temptation among pundits to call it a victory for Bunning and a repudiation of McConnell but that just doesn't really hold true.
Whatever the reason for Paul's large lead it's clear that all the mud that's been slung in both directions over the course of the last four months in this race hasn't made a lot of difference. Paul was up 44-25 when we looked at in December, and since then he's gained two points in support while Grayson's gained three. It's going to take a large turnaround in the final two weeks for Paul not to be the victor.
Full results here