One sign of the intense interest in the Rand Paul/Jack Conway contest is the number of polls that have been commissioned by a variety of news organizations. While the WHAS11/Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll conducted by Survey USA is widely considered as the most reliable measure of the race, the consensus emerging from a number of other pollsters is that no one is running away with this election.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll of the Kentucky Senate race shows Republican Rand Paul leading Democrat Jack Conway by five points among likely voters. Yet, among "registered voters," the race is a dead heat.
Rand Paul 45%
Jack Conway 40%
Rand Paul 40%
Jack Conway 40%
Republicans lead by 69 percent to 62 percent among those completely certain they will vote, a smaller margin than in many states where Democrats worry the lack of enthusiasm in their ranks would diminish turnout in the November election.
"The political atmosphere in Kentucky does not seem nearly as polarized. Democrats in Kentucky really act more like Republicans," pollster Julia Clark of Ipsos Public Affairs said.
While the number of Kentucky voters listing the economy as their top concern is high, it does not match the 70 percent to 80 percent who ranked it as the top worry in hard-hit states like Nevada and Ohio.
Reuters/Ipsos job approval ratings
- Governor Steve Beshear 52%
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell 50%
President Barack Obama 44%
Despite a flurry of coverage (of a recent GQ article about an incident involving Paul at Baylor University), the poll found the allegations have had little impact on the campaign. More than half, 53 percent, said they had not heard about the story.
Among those who had heard about it, 57 percent believed the stories were fabricated or greatly exaggerated and only 28 percent believed they were true or mostly true.
Seven in 10 registered voters said the stories would have no impact on their vote, with 18 percent saying the stories made them less likely to vote for him and 9 percent saying more likely.