Upstart Senate hopeful Rand Paul has turned the Kentucky GOP primay on its head, now taking a nearly 20 point lead over Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the first Public Policy Polling poll of the race.
Meanwhile, Democrat Jack Conway holds a four point lead, 37-33, over rival Dan Mongiardo in the poll, which was conducted December 18 - 21 among likely primary voters.
PPP on the Republican race:
If there was any doubt Rand Paul is a serious candidate for the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky it can be cast away. Our first poll of the race finds him leading Trey Grayson 44-25.
Paul is, as the conventional wisdom suggests, drawing his strongest support from Republicans who are unhappy with their party. He has a 54-22 lead over Grayson with voters who are unhappy with the GOP in Congress and a 54-18 advantage with folks who think the party's grown too liberal.
On the Democrat race:
On the Democratic side Jack Conway holds a 37-33 lead over Dan Mongiardo, despite the fact that he is considerably less well known. 27% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of Conway to 15% unfavorable while the numbers break down 40% positive and 27% negative for Mongiardo. Conway is holding the slight lead due to the combined support of people who like him and dislike Mongiardo.
But the Paul number makes clear, according to the pollster, that his popularity - once regarded as "a phantom number" after a surprisingly strong early Survey USA poll - is no longer in question.
“It’s going to be harder and harder for the political establishment to ignore Rand Paul if he’s posting these kinds of numbers,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “He has a real shot at winning the Republican nomination.”