My impression is that Jack Conway is a perfectly competent Democratic Senatorial candidate, but if he wins, it will be because he had the luck to face a truly awful Republican candidate in Rand Paul:
The more Kentucky voters get to know Rand Paul, the less they like him. When PPP first polled the race in December Paul’s favorability was a +3 spread at 26/23. By May it was a minus 7 spread at 28/35. Now it’s a minus 8 spread at 34/42. The national media attention Paul has received has hurt his cause with voters in the state — 38% say it has made them less likely to support Paul while 29% say it has made them more inclined to vote for him and 33% say it hasn’t had an impact on their attitude toward Paul one way or the other.
I still think Paul will win, but this may end up being a lot closer than I thought possible. McCain won this state by 17 points, so I just can’t see how Republican loses here. But Paul may be inept enough to make this one competitive.
Update. Commenter seabe makes a good point:
Doug, using Obama’s percentage as a litmus for a state like Kentucky is poor political analysis. McConnell barely won his re-election bid, in 2008…even though Obama was on that same ticket. McConnell won 53-47. Now one could argue that Obama being on the ticket encouraged Democrats to come out, or…you could see Kentucky for what it is, and know that Obama may have actually hurt the Dem’s chances there.