If Hillary Clinton was the Democratic candidate for President in 2016, she could win Kentucky. Against one of its home state Senators, Rand Paul. Despite the fact that the Republican nominee has won the state by at least 15 points in each of the last four Presidential elections. That, maybe more than any other data point that's come out in the last month, shows what a formidable candidate she would be and how important it is for Democrats that she run.
Clinton has a 48/42 favorability rating with Kentucky voters. By comparison Barack Obama's approval rating is 38/59. Clinton would lead Rand Paul 47-42 and Marco Rubio 48-40 in hypothetical match ups. That's because Clinton gets 73-74% of the Democratic vote in those match ups, similar to the 72-73% of the Republican vote that Paul and Rubio get. The reason Democrats lose time after time in Kentucky despite having a large registration advantage is that a very large number of Democrats don't vote Democratic for President, but Clinton would win over a lot of the party faithful who have declined to support Obama, Kerry, and Gore.
Paul's 43/39 approval makes him more popular than his senior colleague Mitch McConnell. Steve Beshear is the most popular of the state's politicians with a 51/34 approval rating. Despite Beshear's popularity voters in the state say they would generally prefer a Republican than a Democrat to be their next Governor, 42/39.
A hypothetical 2016 match up between Beshear and Paul would have Beshear ahead by a 46/44 margin. Paul would lead a hypothetical match up with Ashley Judd just 47/46, a little better than her 4 point deficit against McConnell on yesterday's poll. Taking a longer term view to the Judd for Senate craze, her prospects for election might be better in 2016 with Clinton on the ticket than they would be in 2014.
Other notes from Kentucky:
-Kentucky fans out number Louisville ones by a 66/17 margin. This is one of the most lopsided rivalries we've ever polled on. John Calipari has a 49/15 favorability rating, a good deal better than Rick Pitino's 44/32. Louisville fans support their school's move to the ACC by a 70/7 margin.
-The Bengals win big as Kentucky's favorite NFL team with 25% to 11% for the Cowboys and Packers, 9% for the Colts, 8% for the Bears, 7% for the Steelers, 5% for the Titans, and less than 1% for the Rams.
-And in very important news, Kentucky voters prefer Jim Beam over Jack Daniels 20-18.
Full results here