Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Dan Mongiardo have strong leads in their U.S. Senate primary campaigns, according to a new statewide poll.
The Courier-Journal/ WHAS-11 Bluegrass Poll found Paul, a Bowling Green doctor, leads Secretary of State Trey Grayson 42 percent to 27 percent in the GOP race. Mongiardo, the state’s lieutenant governor, leads Attorney General Conway by a similar wide margin, 45 to 27 percent.
Undecided voters were at 19 percent in both polls.
The Republican poll had a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points and the Democrat poll’s margin is 4.1 percentage points. It was based on phone interviews March 1-3 with 454 likely Republican voters and 590 likely Democratic voters. SurveyUSA used a recorded questionnaire in conducting the polls.
The remaining candidates polled at 5 percent or less.
The newspaper reported that the poll was conducted during a period when Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, a retiring Republican, was coming under heavy criticism from Democrats for blocking a bill that provided an extension to unemployment payments.
Paul’s campaign manger, David Adams, said he has seen other polls with Paul in a strong lead.
“Rand Paul has earned a lot of credibility on the issues Kentuckians care about, like a balanced federal budget, term limits, strong national defense and following the U.S. Constitution,” he said in a statement.
Grayson’s campaign head said Grayson is more concerned with the final election results.
“Once Kentucky Republicans learn more about the radical views of Rand Paul … they will have a diff erent opinion,” Nate Hodson said.
Meanwhile Mongiardo’s campaign spokesman says they weren’t surprised by the numbers.
“They confirm that Daniel Mongiardo is the candidate Kentucky families trust the most to fight for them in the Senate,” Kim Geveden said.
Conway spokeswoman Allison Haley said they are focusing on a “long-term campaign strategy.”
“We are confident (Conway) is the best candidate,” she said.
Paul, the son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, led in the demographic groups based on age, gender, education and income level, according to the poll. Mongiardo leads across gender and age groups and is particularly strong with older voters, according to the poll.
The remaining candidates in the Republican race were Bill Johnson, 5 percent; Gurley Martin, 3 percent; John Stephenson, 2 percent; Jon Scribner, 1 percent. The remaining Democrats were Darlene Price, 4 percent; James Buckmaster, 3 percent; Maurice Sweeney 2 percent.