Poll: Ky. Voters Want Rand Paul to Choose - Senate or Presidency

Image: Poll: Ky. Voters Want Rand Paul to Choose - Senate or Presidency U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Mike Stone/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 12:49 PM

By Andrea Billups

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In Kentucky, voters believe Sen. Rand Paul needs to make a choice: re-election to the Senate or a bigger run for the presidency — but not both, a new poll suggests.

Two-thirds of respondents in a Bluegrass poll of registered voters taken last week say changing the law to allow Paul the flexibility for his deep political ambitions, should he attempt such a dual strategy, is a bad idea, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

Current law says a candidate's name may only appear on a ballot once. The read on public opinion sets up a quandary as Paul weighs his options about stepping into the GOP race for the White House or continuing on for re-election to the Senate, where his profile as a Republican lawmaker is on the rise.

The Survey USA poll also found bipartisan opposition to any future changes in the law, The Hill reported, noting that while 78 percent of Democrats were against it, 54 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of those registered as independent also pushed back on the change.

Republicans attempted a fix to the law through the Kentucky legislature but that was unsuccessful, the Hill noted, adding that Paul's aides believe the current law violates the Constitution.

In spite of his Washington profile as an outspoken but careful leader of his party, state opinion surrounding his political future is tepid. A third of Kentuckians think he should stay off the ballot entirely in 2016, while 24 percent favor a Senate run, and another 22 percent say he should focus on a White House bid. Just 15 percent approve of a run for both offices.

The news caps a dismal summer for the senator, the son of libertarian scion Ron Paul, says The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin.

"The only one who had a worse summer than Sen. Rand Paul was Hillary Clinton," she noted, citing issues of concern for the lawmakers around what she described as "his problematic record and/or identification with an Obama-style foreign policy," which arose as he made recent rounds in Iowa, along with other possible GOP presidential candidates.

"His reaction of indifference to the rise of the Islamic State and assertion that we have no dog in the fight for domination of Iraq put him at odds with virtually every elected Republican, and a great number of Democrats," Rubin noted, adding that his difficulties are mounting well in advance of "a head-on attack by opponents."

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