Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway are tied in their Kentucky Senate race, 43-43, according to a new PPP poll. Kentucky is currently held by retiring Republican Jim Bunning, making this Senate race, along with Missouri, New Hampshire and North Carolina, one of the Democrats’ best hopes for going on the offensive in 2010.
It appears Conway’s best hope is to turn the spotlight on Paul and depict him as a man with extreme views, far outside the mainstream. The increased media attention on Paul’s more controversial statements has hurt his favorability numbers. From the PPP blog:
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.
The fact that Democrat Conway is doing well in a Republican-leaning state in what is shaping up to be a good year for the GOP is a reminder that there is some truth to the old line, “All politics is local.”