KY-Sen: Revenge of the Rogue Ophthalmologist?

SurveyUSA for the Louisville Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV (7/27-29, likely voters, 5/25-27 in parentheses):

Jack Conway (D): 43 (45)

Rand Paul (R): 51 (51)

Undecided: 5 (4)

(MoE: ±4.2%)

SurveyUSA is out with its second post-primary poll in Kentucky, and it’s significantly more bullish on Rand Paul’s chances than other outfits like PPP, giving Paul a 51-43 lead over Dem AG Jack Conway. This is largely unchanged from two months ago, with Paul holding steady and Conway down two points.

It’s tempting to dismiss this as float within the MoE, given that Paul hasn’t exactly had the best two months since winning the primary. As is traditional with SurveyUSA’s polls, the crosstabs tend to be a little counterintuitive. Two months ago, Paul was winning both men (54-44) and woman (48-46), but now the gender gap’s intensified: Paul’s now winning men 57-38, but women have supposedly shifted to Conway 49-46.

The sample’s also shifted slightly in terms of partisan ID, going from 54-40-5 D-R-I to 50-37-12. Given (undoubtedly) the high number of old school Dixiecrats here, it’s little surprise that more “Dems” opt for Paul than Republicans for Conway. Conway is improving among Dems though, losing 25% of them to Paul, down from 29% two months ago. The same holds true for Paul (maybe owing to his reconciliation with Mitch McConnell), losing 11% of Republicans now, down from 16% two months ago.

Regardless, it seems Conway will have to do a better job of holding Dems, and primary loser Dan Mongiardo’s recent endorsement asshattery surely isn’t doing Conway any favors. Maybe the doctor we have to worry about for now isn’t the rogue ophthalmologist, but Dr. Dan instead?

28 thoughts on “KY-Sen: Revenge of the Rogue Ophthalmologist?”

  1. So here’s a question for anyone from coal country – will Paul’s recent remarks that the government should not regulate the coal industry hurt him? I sure hope so.  

  2. wanna think Dr. Dan will endorse Rand Paul just to stick it to Conway and the party establishment for ruining his senate run?

  3. I know 538 has them highly rated but they really have had some weird ass polls recently. Maybe I don’t trust them because their Minnesota Polls were way off in 2008 and have had a heavy republican lean this cycle.

    BTW here is another SUSA poll I have a hard time believing.…

    The race for North Carolina’s 11th  district Congressional seat is a dead heat (45 percent-44 percent) between Democratic incumbent Heath Shuler and Republican candidate Jeff Miller as the unaffiliated vote looks to become the deciding factor according to a new SurveyUSA poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

  4. I think we’d have to say Paul is the favorite if he doesn’t goof up.  

    But I don’t really think Mongiardo can be blamed for Conways trailing.  Just because he endorses doesn’t mean his more conservative brand of Dem supporter would follow suit.  Endorsements have never swayed my vote, and if there is a substantial difference in viewpoints/platform, it would matter even less.

  5. Big coal rules here, and any remark that is construed as a threat to the industry is swiftly and ruthlessly pounced upon. It’s unfortunate, but if Conway wants to win he’s going to have to make coal (and most environmental issues in general) a non-issue.

    Anyway, I really don’t think this race has budged much since shortly after the primary, when Paul went into hiding. He might have gained back a point or two, but interest in the race is still low, and it’s going to break late. I really hope that once Conway gets going in earnest, things will start to look better.

    First comment btw, even though I’ve been lurking here a while.

  6. Coal might be an issue used against him in East Kentucky if portrayed right, but the issue with the biggest potential to turn a key electorate against Paul is his waffling on farm subsidies. He sounded like he was against them, now has semi-walked that back. The farming vote in Kentucky is fairly substantial, conservative, and traditionally Democratic in KY; and Paul being seen/portrayed as against subsidies could solidify these traditional rural Democrats to vote for Conway come November.

    I just don’t see Paul being able to keep his strong ideological opposition to poplar subsidies, environmental policies, and government services consistently under-wraps until election day.  

  7. He’ll probably be with Feingold on a lot of votes (e.g., civil liberties issues).

    Of all the potential Republicans up for re-election or potentially being elected this November, he’ll probably break from the GOP line more than any other candidate with the exception of castle and kirk.

  8. He calls himself a Libertarian, but his platform doesn’t really indicate he would break with the Republican line all that much.

  9. His coal stances won’t hurt him much, but farming interests are even more powerful in some parts of the state. Combine that with his loud and proud opposition to government programs and Paul could have trouble with a couple of constituencies that people like McConnell traditionally win big- seniors and farmers/agriculture industry workers. Those are the kinds of issues Conway needs to focus on.  

  10. But he seems to be against any sort of regulation or taxation system, and that outweighs that for me.  

  11. Dr. Dan lost a close and hard fought race, but at worst I think he stays quiet and offers no endorsement.  He probably wants to remain politically viable in case the opportunity to run for Congress, Governor, etc., ever arises. Endorsing Paul would effectively destroy any opportunity to ever run for office again.

  12. West Kentucky is where Paul could lose the most support over subsidies, the Purchase region and the southern parts Pennyrile region have big agriculture economies , and those folks, as you know, like their subsidies. The Purchase might even return to form and vote solidly Democratic, if Paul flubs up enough and Conway works the region hard, as the largest part of it is row crop country.

  13. And I think Conway is going to have to do very well in the Purchase and southern Pennyrile to pull it out. The northern coal counties will be tougher, but you are right that Paul’s unfriendliness to ag subsidies could draw out a lot of that old-time populist Democratic spirit that has been mostly dormant in Western KY.  

  14. but his handful of votes on some liberterian and anti-war votes make him way better than the average Republican running this year… not to mention the circus act of recriminations the GOP will engage in over those handful of his votes.

    I’d prefer him over Blount or Burr anyday.

  15. Well, “already lost” might be the wrong way to put it, rather “if the election were held today,” then I’m very confident we WOULD lose the House.

    The only thing left to save it is if our incumbents make headway from campaigning their asses off, and enough survive to let us keep a razor-thin majority.  Our financial advantage, among both incumbents and the party committees, hasn’t kicked in and had its real effect yet, so that’s a viable approach to keep our losses closer to 35 than 50.

    I do feel a lot better about the Senate.  It’s not just PPP who came out with a blog post about improved Democratic fortunes today, it’s my own observation of all the polls as a whole, and we’ve improved our position for sure.

    Regarding KY-Sen, it’s not inconsistent if PPP calls it a 43-43 tie and SUSA calls it a 51-43 Paul advantage.  It’s really all about question choice and question wording and pushing leaners, and of course how tight a voter screen a poll uses.  There are easily something in the ballpark of 10% who are still completely undecided right now, and another 10% or so who have a lean one way or the other.  And it doesn’t surprise me that the leaners almost everywhere in the country are leaning GOP right now.  It’s not a “bad environment” if that wasn’t already true!

  16. Also, is there any word on whether Chandler might take a primary run at Beshear?  Chandler tried once and I’d assume that’s the race he’d really want to win.

  17. Then shouldnt he endorse Conway?  That makes him even more viable because he just looks like a jackass, which fits the image Ive always gotten anyway.

  18. His old Senate seat was in KY-5, which would be a tough seat for any Dem to win if it were to come open, but he has a high name ID and the conservative rural Dem credentials to be viable. The prevailing political environment at the time of an open seat would almost certainly determine if Mongiardo, or any other serious Dem, would make a bid.

    I have not heard or read anything about Mongiardo having a interest in challenging Beshear in a primary bid, but there is some non-specific speculative hub-bub about Beshear getting a challenger. I’d be skeptical until it happened.

  19. Not Mongiardo.  No chance Mongiardo tries to take on Beshear so soon after this loss.

    Chandler though might sense an opportunity, but who knows what 2011 will bring.

  20. My mistake. I would be surprised by a Chandler primary bid next year, as that would be an unexpected development. Ben Chandler certainly wanted to be Governor in 2003, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, “Happy” Chandler; but Governor Paul Patton’s scandalous last term weighed down his campaign with questions about his role as AG at the time. I would not be surprised if at some point he launches a second bid, but I doubt it would be next year.

    I, like hoosierdem, have heard House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s name mentioned. Stumbo is very ambitious and has taken on similar feats in the recent past, i.e. toppling Speaker Jody Richards in 2009.

  21. Chandler runs for anything it will be Senate in 2014. I like Critz Lucalleden (SP) and all but he would be a much stronger candidate. I do not see how McConnell survives if he runs, I have no doubt McConnell would have lost had Chandler, Lucalleden or Fischer been the nominee in 08. Happy was a Senator as well so Chandler would still be following in his footsteps when you think about it.  

  22. In a few weeks he may endorse Conway, and may just be needing more time to distance himself from his close loss in what was a heated primary. An endorsement would quickly re-endear him with segments of the party’s base, but not endorsing and staying out of the race won’t probably be held against him by most of the Democratic electorate; and most folks will forgive and forget.  

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