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.
Paul is winning 72% of the Republican vote to Conway's 65% of the Democratic vote. Kentucky may have the most conservative Democratic voters in the country. If Conway can get more than 80% of the vote from within his own party he'll more than likely win this race, but that may be a tall order when only 58% even of Democrats approve of the President's job performance.
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.
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