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WHAS11 poll: Paul leads Conway by 6 with few undecided

by Joe Arnold


Posted on May 31, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Updated Monday, May 31 at 5:05 PM

Not quite two weeks after Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul won their respective U.S. Senate primaries in Kentucky, a new WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll shows Paul with a six point lead, 51% to 45% among likely voters.  

51% Paul (R)
45% Conway (D)
4% Undecided

Asked of 569 likely voters
Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.2%

Filtering: SurveyUSA interviewed 850 KY adults 05/25/10 through 05/27/10. Of them, 771 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 569 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the November election for US Senate. Incumbent Republican US Senator Jim Bunning is not seeking re-election. 

Note to outside media and bloggers:  WHAS11 is pleased to provide a link to our polls.  We appreciate your cooperation in referring to the poll as the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll.  While Survey USA is the pollster, the poll is commissioned by WHAS11 and The Louisville Courier-Journal.

Click here for the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll of the Senate race, including crosstabs.

Click here for the remaining poll questions and crosstabs, including how voters describe the candidates on a conservative-liberal scale, Kentuckians' view of the Tea Party movement, the government's response to the oil spill, farm subsidies, and whether private businesses should be required by law to serve customers of all ethnic backgrounds and provide access to people with disabilities. 

Paul leads in Western Kentucky, North Central Kentucky, and among gun owners, pro-life voters, college graduates, and the affluent. 

"I want to put somebody different in there," said Paul supporter Denny Flannery, "I want to get the incumbents out.  I don't care who they are, one party or the other.  I want somebody in there who's going to work with the people work for the country and not for themselves."

Conway leads in Eastern Kentucky, among moderates, and among pro-choice voters.

"I'm voting for Jack Conway," said Jill Vanderwerp, "I'm a Democrat and I think he's the best man for the job."

"I like (Conway's) issues a little more," explained Lynn Brown, "And I think he is more for all the people.  And I don't think he has his own agenda.  I think he's for what's best for everybody."

Asked to describe the candidates politically, Kentucky voters saw the Democrat Conway as generally more liberal or moderate while Paul is seen as a conservative.

Jack Conway

13% Conservative
29% Moderate
22% Liberal
29% Some other way 
7%   Not sure

Rand Paul 

38% Conservative
11% Moderate
13% Liberal
32% Some other way 
5%   Not sure

"I don't know who Rand Paul is," admitted Republican Garret Cawthon, "I haven't done enough research or whatever on him to find out why everybody loves him, so -- I know the Democrat is Conway, but I am a Republican, so I'm going to definitely do my research over the next few months."

It does not appear that the recent firestorm sparked by Paul's comments about the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act swayed voters - as much as reenforced their preference.

"I didn't like his comments and that just emphasized that I was voting for the right person," said Vanderwerp.

"I think we've all had slips of the tongue and I think that he was taken out of context," said Flannery, "and people just misinterpreted him."

Paul campaign statement

"Kentucky voters rejected Obama's big-government agenda just two years ago. They will surely do the same here when they learn how closely Rand Paul's opponent mirrors Obama's views. Rand Paul supports balanced budgets, term limits and a strong national defense, just like the vast majority of Kentuckians."

David Adams
Campaign chairman

Conway campaign statement

"There is a clear contrast between the candidates in this race. Jack Conway is running a campaign that’s about putting Kentuckians first by creating jobs, cutting the deficit and restoring accountability to Wall Street and Washington while his opponent is putting the interests of corporations like BP ahead of Kentucky families.  We look forward to making our case to Kentuckians in the coming months."

Survey USA analysis

In KY, Rand Paul Breaks From Gate Slightly Ahead of Jack Conway in Battle for Bunning's Open Senate Seat: In an election for United States Senator from Kentucky today, 05/28/10, Republican Rand Paul edges Democrat Jack Conway, 51% to 45%, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for the Louisville Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV.

9 of 10 with a favorable opinion of the Tea Party Movement vote for Paul; 9 of 10 with an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party Movement vote for Conway. Paul leads n Western KY, North Central KY, and among gun owners, pro-life voters, college grads, and the affluent. Conway leads in Eastern KY, among Moderates, and among pro-choice voters. 16% of Republicans cross over to vote for Conway; 29% of Democrats cross over to vote for Paul.

In KY, More Say Government Should Require Equal Access for Handicapped Than Say Government Should Require Equal Access for Minorities:

72% of Kentuckians say businesses should be required by law to provide access to persons with disabilities, compared to 60% of Kentuckians who say businesses should be required by law to serve customers of all ethnic backgrounds, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for The Louisville Courier Journal and WHAS-TV. Looking at just Tea Party supporters: 61% say the government should be required to provide access to persons with disabilities. 50% say the government should make sure persons of all races have equal access. 32% of Kentuckians say businesses should be able to decide on their own whether they serve persons of all races. By comparison: 24% say businesses should be able to decide on their own whether they can deny service to persons with disabilities.

Kentuckians overwhelmingly say the government's response to the Gulf oil spill has not been forceful enough. 3 in 10 Kentuckians support farm subsidies for all farmers, regardless of income; 5 in 10 support subsidizing farmers below a certain income level. 4% of Kentucky adults describe themselves as active members of the Tea Party. Another 41% say they agree with the Tea Party, though are not active. 23% oppose the Tea Party. 33% are unfamiliar with the Tea Party. For the Tea Party "cross-tab" on this report, "active" Tea Party members and "agree" with Tea Party respondents are combined and labeled "Support."

African Americans in this survey were oversampled by 375% to ensure that their answers to Question 5, in particular, would be extrapolatable. The theoretical margin of sampling error on answers from black respondents is reduced from 15% to 8% as a result. When answers from both white and black respondents are combined in this report, black respondents were weighted down to their correct percentage of the state's overall population.