Just after his big Republican Primary win last month, Rand Paul led his Democratic opponent Jack Conway by 25 points in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race. Now Paul’s lead is down to just eight points.
Now, however, Paul holds a much smaller advantage. The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey finds the GOP nominee with support from 49% of the state’s voters while Conway earns 41% of the vote. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.
Almost all candidates receive a bounce following a big victory and Paul clearly lost his post-primary bounce. But he added to the decline by quickly stumbling out of the gate in an interview on MSNBC. During the interview, he discussed reasons for opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was immediately hit with charges of racism. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Kentucky voters say they have followed news reports about his comments on MSNBC, including 39% who have followed Very Closely.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Kentucky voters now have a favorable opinion of Paul, down from 69% percent in the previous survey. Thirty-eight percent (38%) view him unfavorably, and five percent (5%) have no opinion.
Conway is viewed favorably by 47% and unfavorably by 43%, marking virtually no change from two weeks ago. Eleven percent (11%) have no opinion of the Democrat.
Forty-five percent (45%) say the comments on MSNBC are at least somewhat important to how they will vote in November, with 25% who say they are Very Important. But slightly more voters (47%) say the comments are not very or not at all important in determining how they will vote.
Interestingly, most of those who have followed the story Very Closely support Paul, suggesting they don’t consider it that big a deal. But 76% of those who consider the comments Very Important to how they will vote now favor Conway.
So, it’s still a competitive race but it seems that Paul has suffered whatever damage resulted from the Civil Right Act kerfuffle early on, and that it apparently doesn’t matter to most voters. So far, so good.