Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paul still up big

Fueled by a high level of unhappiness with the direction of the Republican Party, Rand Paul appears to be poised for an easy victory over Trey Grayson in Tuesday's Kentucky Senate primary. He leads PPP's final poll 52-34.

There are more Republicans planning to vote on Tuesday (41%) who are unhappy with the current direction of their party than ones who are happy with it (36%). Among those discontented folks Paul has a staggering 59-28 lead which more than offsets the 47-45 lead Grayson has with the voters who think the party's current course is fine.

A Paul victory will be a clear signal that Kentucky Republicans want the party to move further to the right. 32% of likely primary voters think that the party is too liberal and Paul has a 71-21 advantage with them that accounts for almost his entirely polling lead. With the other 68% of voters who don't think the party's too liberal Paul is ahead only 45-41.

What a Paul victory will not be is a sign that Kentucky Republicans want Mitch McConnell to go. 64% of voters think the winner of the primary should vote for McConnell as the GOP leader in the Senate to only 18% who say no. Even among Paul voters there is 58/22 support for keeping the state's senior Senator in his current leadership position.

Another thing Paul's victory will not be is a particular mandate for Libertarian Republicanism. We did a test of some of the leading 2012 GOP candidates in the state and Ron Paul registered at just 8%, well behind Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney. Additionally only 19% of primary voters self identify as Libertarians.

When PPP first polled this race right before Christmas Paul had a double digit lead, and it seems he's never looked back. Other candidates might want to study what Paul did to build such an apparently insurmountable lead during the last quarter of 2009 because it's definitely one of the biggest surprises of this election cycle so far.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

If Conway wins the Dem primary we have a chance

Anonymous said...

However, you assume those who are asked to identify themselves as libertarian don't think of it as a different party -- and know what it means.

Anonymous said...

Thanks as always for the fine analysis--although I take issue with your view, based on KY GOP presidential preference polling, that Rand's impending win will not be a victory for libertarian Republicanism. It is perfectly rational for people to want libertarian representation in Congress, where economic issues predominate, but not in the White House, where national security issues are of utmost importance.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"If Conway wins the Dem primary we have a chance"

In our last poll, Conway did slightly better than Mongiardo against both Paul and Grayson. Paul did worse than Grayson against both of the Dems.

"However, you assume those who are asked to identify themselves as libertarian don't think of it as a different party -- and know what it means."

Of course. That's the case with any issue or political ID question, or almost any question other than those that ask respondents what their action will be (who they'll vote for, whether they'll vote, etc.). People bring their own understandings and connotations of words to the game, and some respondents have more knowledge than others. This does not say that if you asked voters what their opinions on issues were they would not be libertarian, and in that case, probably more than 19% would be. But it does say that few voters would label themselves libertarian, whatever they think that means.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is simply a face-crush for trAIG grAIGson.

Maybe Mommyblogger will shut her lying Graashole now?

Nah, $10 says she supports the Democrat, probably Conway.

Unknown said...

I think you've established clearly that while ideology is important Republicans want to elect outsiders and Greyson just can't convince voters he's inside. Greyson has the "Bush stink" on him and he can't shake it.

I'm not sure what your McConnell question accomplished in asking Kentucky Republicans. Of course they'll support him. In any other state ask whether they'd want McConnell or Demint and McConnell loses. I think Coburn, Thune, and Kyl would beat him also.

Imperial said...

I am surprised that 19% self-identified as libertarian, considering the generally negative impression Republicans have of libertarians.

I think you see two things with this. 1) Posturing worked to prevent Grayson from gaining ground on him 2) the best outsider candidates will have an outside funding source- like the last name Paul for Rand.

PNC said...

Interesing. Over 2/3 of the people polled support the War in Iraq, while almost half of them known Rand Paul opposed it.

The view of Kentucky Republicans right now appears to be, "I know Rand Paul doesn't stand for my values, but I just don't care".

In other words, Rand Paul's success seems to have nothing to do with Rand Paul, and everything to do with Trey Grayson.

Apparently there's an "anyone but Grayson" sentiment prevailing in Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is a pretty good chance this means that the Republican Party needs to head back toward its more libertarian roots. The libertarian party broke off from the Republican party in 1971 when many noticed that the Republicans were heading toward the path of big government - they seem to have been proven correct today.

Most people don't seem to really understand what it is to be libertarian, but that doesn't mean that this isn't a sign that the party needs to head more toward these roots. And YES, what people relate to with Paul's message is the LIBERTARIAN tone - he just isn't allowed to call it that for marketing reasons. The word libertarian is a actually good word - nearly stands along side of the word Reason. The media likes to make it out as if libertarians all want partake in alcohol, drugs, sex, and other risky behavior. Actually, libertarians simply believe in individual responsibility, and that it isn't the government's role to be our nanny, and we have the individual responsibility to do the right things, or suffer the consequences.

(Many Kentuckians may not understand the definition of libertarian completely, but if our state hosts the Kentucky Derby (biggest gambling / sporting event in the world), hosts one of the largest private machine gun shoots, and has Bourbon as a central tourist attraction, then there is a very good chance that we have an underlying Libertarian streak in Kentucky.)

Christian Liberty said...

"only(?) 19% of primary voters self identify as Libertarians."

Libertarian is a word that many people seldom use and few understand. The libertarian label is more often used in the mainstream press and punditry in order to smear the more doctrinaire positions of theorists and activists with the most principled limited government positions. In this dynamic, even 19% self-identifying as libertarian is remarkably high. Just the same, if you ask how many people self-identify as Triskaidekaphobic, your poll would underreport the number of people who fear the number 13.

For a more practical understanding of libertarianism on the political map, look to the Nolan Chart as an alternative to the left-right paradigm.

Anil Petra said...

Democrats usually define "far right" in terms of social issues. This election cycle, what the Tea Partiers represent is a rejection of big government, outrageous spending and huge deficits; there is very little interest among the movement in traditional social issues, much more in the broad based changes you'd see with a reduction of the role of government in daily life.

Democrats fear this. They are terrified of this. Therefore they make truly accusations that equate Tea Partiers with racism.

Republicans aren't shifting to the "far right", they're shifting toward wholesale rejection of big government.

Christian Liberty said...

Rand Paul victory:
59% Paul, 39% Grayson
(97% precincts reporting)

"It's just a tremendous mandate for the tea party. It cannot be overstated that people want something new; they don't want the same old, same old politicians." (Rand Paul)

"Grayson tried to persuade voters that Paul’s libertarian ideas were strange and kooky. But judging from the election returns, Kentucky’s Republican voters weren’t buying it." (Louisville Courier-Journal)

"McConnell has scheduled a GOP Unity Rally Saturday in Frankfort, where he will endorse Paul." (NPR)

Democrats haven't won a Senate race in Kentucky since 1992

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