In what appears to be a rather shocking turn-around, a new SurveyUSA poll of likely voters has Republican Rand Paul in a statistical tie with Democrat Jack Conway, 49 percent to 47 percent. In four months of SurveyUSA polling, Conway had not received above 45 percent and Paul had not receive below 51 percent. An identical poll from three weeks ago had Paul leading big, 55 percent to 40 percent. Some of the finer data points do appear rather startling:
– Among women, Conway and Paul had been even in 3 previous polls, but Conway today leads by 16.
– In North Central KY, Paul had led by as many as 22 points, now tied.
– Among more affluent voters, Paul had led by as many as 21 points, today leads by 5.
Predictably, Conway’s campaign is touting the poll as evidence that Kentucky voters are turning against Paul. However, as RealClearPolitics points out, one crucial aspect of the polling deserves special mention:
It’s worth noting that the SurveyUSA sample for this poll is 51 percent Democrat and 36 percent Republican. The 2008 turnout in the state was 47 percent Democrat and 38 percent Republican.
With this is mind, the results actually seem like terrible news for Conway. If Kentucky Democrats think they can beat their ‘08 turnout by four percentage points and still lose by two (or even tie), they are probably in a for a big letdown in November.