The new survey of the Kentucky Senate race by Public Policy Polling (D) shows a tied race in this red state, where Republican nominee Rand Paul and Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway are competing for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Jim Bunning. Furthermore, it’s quite possible that the negative coverage of Paul’s past opposition to the Civil Rights Act may have done him some damage.
The poll has Paul and Conway tied up at 43%-43%. The survey of registered voters has a Â±3.9% margin of error. The previous poll from two months ago, when both candidates were competing for their respective parties’ nominations, gave Paul a 41%-40% edge over Conway.
Other polls since the primary showed a possible bump for Paul after his primary win, with the race narrowing again somewhat. The TPM Poll Average gives Paul a lead of 48.8%-41.8%.The poll finds Paul with a favorable rating of only 34%, with 42% unfavorable, compared to Conway’s rating at 31%-29%. At the same time, President Obama’s approval rating is only 37%-58%, and voters oppose the health care law by 60%-31%.
The poll asked: “Has the national media coverage of Rand Paul’s views made you more or less likely to vote for him?” Here the answer is 29% more likely, 38% less likely, and 33% no difference. On the other hand, only 36% say the media is treating Paul fairly, compared to 42% saying they are treating him unfairly.
Now here is where things get tricky: “Do you support the Civil Rights Act of 1964?” The answer here is 68% yes, 7% no, and 25% not sure. To make the situation clearer, there was this follow-up: “When it comes to serving customers, do you think the law should allow private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race?” The answer was only 9% yes, 83% no, and 8% not sure.
PPP’s Tom Jensen writes: “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.”