LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As talk swirls about a possible presidential bid, two-thirds of Kentucky voters don’t want a state law changed to allow him to run for both President and re-election to the U.S. Senate on the same ballot.
A new Bluegrass Poll – conducted for WKYT-TV, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Louisville Courier-Journal, and WHAS-TV – found 39 percent of Kentuckians have a favorable opinion of him compared to 32 percent who have an unfavorable impression. In February Bluegrass Poll, 46 percent of voters approved of the junior senator’s performance while 45 percent disapprove.
“Sen. Paul stirs strong feelings from both those who agree with him and those who disagree with his stands. He often says he is interested in starting conversations among people about where the state and the country are headed. His numbers somewhat reflect the divide we have right now on how to approach the future," said WKYT political editor Bill Bryant.
Paul’s approval was strongest among men, whites, conservatives, and higher income earners. Voters in western and eastern Kentucky gave a stronger approval than other regions in the state.
Elected in 2010, Paul has been an outspoken critic in Washington on topics ranging from federal spending to health care.
As the nation wrestled with the government shutdown and a fight over raising the nation's debt limit, Paul found himself in the middle of the action.
He called for repeal of the Affordable Care Act and voted against the deal worked out by fellow Kentucky senator and Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Harry Reid.
“For now, Paul is keeping one eye on a possible White House and another protecting the Senate seat that is his current platform,” said Bryant.
As he considers a 2016 presidential run, 22 percent of Kentuckians polled say they think he should make a run for the White House while 24 percent prefer for him to run re-election to the Senate.
Under current state laws, he can’t run for both offices which are up during the same election. However, 15 percent of those polled think he should be able to run for both simultaneously. A number of other states do allow politicians to run for Congressional offices while also running for the White House.
A third of those polled think he should bow out of politics by not running for either office.
For the Bluegrass Poll, SurveyUSA interviewed 700 state of Kentucky adults between August 25 and 27. Of the adults, 647 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 569 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the November 4 general election. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (72 percent of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.