Poll: Don't change election law for Rand Paul
James R. Carroll, firstname.lastname@example.org
8:September 1, 2014
WASHINGTON – Kentucky Republican Rand Paul has suggested that he might run simultaneously for the presidency and re-election to the Senate in 2016, but two-thirds of registered voters in the state — including a majority of Republicans — oppose changing the law to make that easier, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll.
As a matter of fact, only 15 percent of Kentucky registered voters think Paul should run for both offices, the survey finds. By a 24-22 percent split, slightly more believe he should run only for his Senate seat than make a bid for the White House. And a third of voters oppose the freshman senator running for anything.
Paul enjoys a 39 percent favorability rating in the state, the poll shows. Thirty-two percent of registered voters view the senator unfavorably, while 24 percent say they are neutral.
"I can see the dilemma," said Harvey Tincher, 67, of Waddy, Ky., referring to Paul's dual-office challenge. But Tincher, a farmer retired from a technology company, said the law doesn't need changing — the senator needs to make a choice.
"You've got to run for one or run for the other," Tincher said. "The backup is the fear of losing. … If you're going to do it, go all the way."
However, he is among those who would prefer that Paul try to stay in the Senate. The senator's world view would be a problem as president, Tincher said.
"He's more of an isolationist, and we don't live in an isolated world," he said.
The Bluegrass Poll asked the opinions of 647 registered Kentucky voters Aug. 25-27, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points on the question about changing the law; and plus or minus 3.9 percentage points on questions about Paul's favorability ratings and whether he should run for president, the Senate or both. The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal, Louisville's WHAS-TV, The Lexington Herald Leader and Lexington's WKYT-TV.
Mary Dean is among that small group favoring a double candidacy by Kentucky's junior senator — and she's a Democrat.
"I do think he's a good senator and I think he'd make an excellent president, if they would change the law to allow that in the state of Kentucky," said the 58-year-old retired registered nurse, who lives in Liberty, Ky.
Dean's party affiliation is no barrier to her positive view of Paul. "I think he's a personable candidate — you can talk to him and he will answer you," she said.
Kentucky's junior senator has maintained a furious travel pace this year, including visits to early caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. That has fueled speculation in the media and Republican Party circles that he intends to be a presidential candidate in 2016.
The senator was among a group of possible 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls who spoke Friday and Saturday at a conference in Dallas sponsored by the conservative political group Americans for Prosperity.
Paul told The Courier-Journal in a July interview that a decision on mounting a presidential campaign "will be made in the beginning of 2015 sometime or the spring of 2015."
However, the senator also has told Kentucky Republicans his name will be on the ballot as a Senate candidate in 2016.
Kentucky law prohibits a candidate's name from appearing for two separate offices on the same ballot in most cases.
An effort earlier this year by Republicans in the Kentucky Legislature to change the state law was blocked by the Democrats running the state House.
Allowing Paul to run for two offices at the same time is not popular, with 54 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 78 percent of Democrats opposed to changing state law, according to the poll.
Stick to running for the Senate and never mind changing the law, advised Betty Jean Simmons, a 74-year-old Republican who lives in Paul's home town of Bowling Green. She is a retired farmer and newspaper carrier.
Simmons said Paul should not run for president because it's too soon.
"He doesn't have enough experience," she said. "I just don't think he's capable."
Paul's positive ratings with voters are helped by the 61 percent of Republicans who view him favorably. While 36 percent of independents also view him favorably, an identical percentage say they are neutral on the senator.
More women — 35 percent — view Paul unfavorably than favorably — 33 percent. Conversely, 45 percent of men have a favorable opinion of Paul, while 28 percent have an unfavorable view.
Although Paul has been making much-publicized efforts to reach out to black voters, that group in Kentucky is not swayed: 48 percent view him unfavorably, while just 13 percent have a favorable opinion. A third of black voters say they are neutral.
Paul's potential bid for the White House divides Republicans as much as Kentucky voters in general. The poll finds that 33 percent of registered Republicans in the state favor such a run, while 31 percent prefer Paul to seek a second term in the Senate. Just 19 percent of Republicans think Paul should pursue both the presidency and the Senate.http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/rand-paul/2014/09/01/bluegrass-poll-two-thirds-oppose-changing-law-help-rand-paul-run-two-offices/14944351/