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Poll: 'Aqua Buddha' Ad Backfires Against Jack Conway in Race Against Rand Paul

3 years ago
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Republican Rand Paul has opened a 53 percent to 40 percent lead over Democrat Jack Conway in the Senate race, with 7 percent undecided, according to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted Oct. 21-24.

PPP is now calling Paul the "likely victor" in the race and says the reason is the backlash from Conway's campaign ad saying that Paul, during his college days, worshipped a false god named "Aqua Buddha." Politics Daily correspondent Walter Shapiro wrote about the same voter reaction during his reporting travels in Kentucky.

PPP says 62 percent of voters said they had seen the ad and that 56 percent thought it was inappropriate. Forty-one percent of Conway's fellow Democrats agreed that it was inappropriate as did 68 percent of independents and 72 percent of Republicans.

Rand Paul and Aqua BuddhaVoters have turned negative on Conway, the state's attorney general, with 52 percent seeing him unfavorably compared to 39 percent who regard him favorably, with 9 percent undecided. Twenty-eight percent of Democrats view their candidate unfavorably and 63 percent of independents have an unfavorable view of him as well. Paul is seen favorably by 49 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

Paul also benefits from the fact that he has 84 percent backing from fellow Republicans compared to the 67 percent Conway gets from Democrats. Independents favor Paul by 66 percent to 27 percent, with 6 percent undecided. PPP says the "huge movement" by independents away from Conway and to Paul is making a difference in the race.

"Down by single digits until now, Jack Conway threw a Hail Mary with the 'Aqua Buddha' TV spot, and Rand Paul looks set to intercept it and return it for a touchdown next week," said PPP's Dean Debnam.

A separate poll by Fox News/Pulse Opinion Research conducted Oct. 23 put Paul ahead by 50 percent to 43 percent with 2 percent preferring some other candidate and 5 percent undecided. The margin of error is 3 points. Ten percent of voters in each candidate's camps say they could yet changed their minds. Paul is seen favorably by a 48 percent to 41 percent margin, with 11 percent undecided or saying they haven't heard of him. Fifty-one percent see Conway unfavorably, while 38 percent regard him favorably, with 11 percent undecided or saying they haven't heard of him.

Forty-three percent of voters say Paul shares their values while 39 percent say he does not, with 18 percent undecided. Forty-nine percent say Conway does not share their values while 30 percent say he does, with 22 percent undecided.

Forty-four percent say that they do not regard Paul as extreme. Conway has been trying to hang that label on Paul, and his Tea Party views. Forty-two percent said they do regard Paul's view as extreme, while 14 percent are undecided. On the flip side, 53 percent believe that Conway agrees too often with President Obama's policies, a perception that Paul has been trying to drive home.

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