Raleigh, N.C. – Fueled by a high level of unhappiness with the direction of the Republican Party, Rand Paul appears to be poised for an easy victory over Trey Grayson in Tuesday's Kentucky Senate primary. He leads PPP's final poll 52-34.
There are more Republicans planning to vote on Tuesday (41%) who are unhappy with the current direction of their party than ones who are happy with it (36%). Among those discontented folks Paul has a staggering 59-28 lead which more than offsets the 47-45 lead Grayson has with the voters who think the party's current course is fine.
A Paul victory will be a clear signal that Kentucky Republicans want the party to move further to the right. 32% of likely primary voters think that the party is too liberal and Paul has a 71-21 advantage with them that accounts for almost his entirely polling lead. With the other 68% of voters who don't think the party's too liberal Paul is ahead only 45- 41.
What a Paul victory will not be is a sign that Kentucky Republicans want Mitch McConnell to go. 64% of voters think the winner of the primary should vote for McConnell as the GOP leader in the Senate to only 18% who say no. Even among Paul voters there is 58/22 support for keeping the state's senior Senator in his current leadership position.
Another thing Paul's victory will not be is a particular mandate for Libertarian Republicanism. We did a test of some of the leading 2012 GOP candidates in the state and Ron Paul registered at just 8%, well behind Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney.
“Rand Paul’s remarkable success is one of the biggest stories of the 2010 election cycle so far,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “It’s a clear sign of unhappiness within the Republican Party and should have establishment candidate facing primaries nationwide a little nervous about their prospects.”
PPP surveyed 1,065 likely Republican primary voters on May 15th and 16th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-3.0%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.
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