PPP's newest poll of the Kentucky Senate race finds that Mitch McConnell continues to rank as the most unpopular Senator in the country, and that several Democrats are within striking distance of him in head to head match ups.
36% of voters approve of the job McConnell is doing to 54% who disapprove. That -18 net approval is the same as we found in December when he was at 37/55. McConnell gets tepid approval from Republicans (53/34) while meeting with disapproval from most Democrats (23/69) and independents (32/54).
It's just as well for Democrats that Ashley Judd decided not to challenge McConnell. Her popularity declined quite a bit over the last 4 months. In December a plurality of voters had a positive opinion of her at 42/36, but now her favorability numbers are under water at 34/41. The attacks on her clearly took a toll on her image.
The good news for Democrats is that they still have several candidates who poll within striking range of McConnell. Alison Lundergan Grimes, despite having only 50% name recognition, comes within 4 points of McConnell at 45/41. She's gained a little bit of ground on him since our December poll that found him with a 47/40 advantage. And former Congressman Ben Chandler trails McConnell just 46/41. Ed Marksberry, the only announced Democratic candidate in the race at this point, trails the incumbent 46/35.
McConnell has clearly been supplanted by Rand Paul as the Senator Kentuckians have a higher opinion of. Paul's approval rating is a 46/39 spread and asked which of their Senators they like better 42% of voters in the state pick Paul to just 24% for McConnell. Preference for Paul is overwhelming among Republicans (56/24) and independents (46/14) and Democrats (30/26) like him better than their senior Senator as well.
There has been some discussion about Ashley Judd potentially running for the Senate in 2016 after her decision not to do so next year, but she would trail Paul 51/40 in a hypothetical match up. Paul is looking pretty formidable at this very early stage- despite the fact that Governor Steve Beshear is popular with a 48/31 approval rating he would still lag behind Paul 46/42 in a hypothetical match up.
Full results here