In it, but not of it. TPM DC

New Poll Shows Rand Paul Up 13 -- And Voters Don't Like Conway's Aqua Buddha Ad


The ad features a story about an alleged hazing incident Paul participated in while an undergraduate at Baylor. According to an unnamed woman who says she was a student when Paul attended the school, Paul and a friend tied her up, put her in a creek and asked her to pray to "Aqua Buddha." The incident was part of Paul's membership in a student group called the NoZe brotherhood that was banned from the Baptist-backed Baylor campus for "mocking Christianity."

Conway said the ad was intended to show Paul's history of questionable decision making, a view he attempted to tie to his attacks on Paul's history as a political pundit and candidate. Paul said the ad was an attack on his faith -- Paul is a Christian -- and said that Kentucky voters would be turned off by the spot.

The PPP poll suggests Paul's read was the right one. The new numbers show that in the month or so since PPP's last poll of the Kentucky Senate race, as Conway has ramped up his attacks, Paul has pulled away to a double-digit lead.

A second poll of the race by Fox News (using Rasmussen's automated polling methods) out today seems to confirm PPP's numbers. Paul leads the race 50-43 in the poll, and internals show that voters have a more favorable opinion of Paul. Voters remain split about Paul's views, however, with 42% saying he's too extreme and 44% saying he's not.

Other recent polling has shown Conway running much closer to Paul -- the TPM Poll Average shows Paul leading 48.7-42.6. Most public polls conducted in the month of October have shown Paul leading by around five points. But as one of the first public polls to track public opinion of the spot and how it might affect behavior in the voting booth, the PPP poll suggests a tough road ahead for Conway and his supporters.