The two top Republican hopefuls for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky have put a little more distance between themselves and their chief Democratic contenders in a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state.
Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Rand Paul, an opthamologist and the son of Congressman Ron Paul, remain ahead of Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo. Now, however, the GOP hopefuls also are beating state Attorney General Jack Conway.
While Paul is likely to get an extra boost from enthusiastic supporters of his father’s presidential bid in 2008, both Republicans are benefiting from unhappiness in Kentucky with the national health care plan now working its way through Congress.
Just 34% of Kentucky voters favor the health care plan, while 62% oppose it. These numbers include 16% who Strongly Favor it versus 50% who Strongly Oppose. This is much stronger opposition to the plan than is found nationally.
In September, Conway ran even with Grayson and beat Paul by four points.
Grayson leads Mongiardo by the same seven-point margin he had in the previous survey – 44% to 37%. Against Conway, he now posts a 10-point lead – 45% to 35%.
Paul runs stronger against Mongiardo. His five-point lead in October has now jumped to a 14-point spread – 49% to 35%. He bests Conway now 46% to 38%.
Both Republicans carry over 70% of the votes of those who strongly oppose the health care plan no matter which Democrat they are facing.
Both parties will pick their Senate nominees in primaries on May 18.
Thirteen percent (13%) of voters in the state have a very favorable opinion of Grayson and four percent (4%) view him very unfavorably. Paul is seen very favorably by 17% and very unfavorably by seven percent (7%).
For Mongiardo, very favorables total 17% and very unfavorables 15%. Conway is regarded very favorably by 16% and very unfavorably by 13%.
This marks little or no change in favorables for any of the candidates.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of Kentucky voters say cost is the biggest problem with health care today. Eighteen percent (18%) cite the lack of universal coverage and 16% the quality of care. That’s similar to the national average.
Sixty-one percent (61%) oppose a single-payer health plan. Fifty-two percent (52%) believe states should have the right to opt out if the national health care plan is passed.
Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters in Kentucky grade President Obama’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan as good or excellent, but 31% say it’s poor.
Thirty-nine percent (39%) expect the situation there to worsen in the next six months, while 24% think it will get better. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say it will stay about the same.
Kentucky voters are a bit more optimistic than those nationally when it comes to the war on terror. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say the United States and its allies are winning, while 31% say the terrorists are ahead. Twenty-five percent (25%) say it’s a draw.
Fifty percent (50%) believe the U.S. legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights when national security is at stake. Just 15% say the legal system worries too much about national security, and another 25% say the balance is about right.
Most Kentucky voters (53%) approve of Democratic Governor Steve Beshear’s job performance, including 14% who strongly approve. Forty-four percent (44%) disapprove, with 13% who strongly disapprove. This is little changed from October.
In Election 2008, John McCain carried Kentucky over Obama with 58% of the vote. Forty-one percent (41%) now approve of the president’s job performance while 59% disapprove. This is down a few points since late September, matching the national trend found in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
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