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Rand Paul leads big in new Kentucky poll, thanks to millennial support

(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

After a heated debate this week between Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and his opponent Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, new polling shows Paul has this race on lock.

A poll conducted by Western Kentucky University’s Social Science Research Center shows Paul winning 55 percent of likely voters and Gray winning just 39 percent. Paul is leading Gray among white voters, conservatives, independents, men, women, and millennials.

Fifty-seven percent of millennials are supporting Paul, while just 32 percent are supporting Gray.

Gray leads Paul among non-white voters and liberals, but Paul still captures a sizable portion of these groups. The poll showed Paul had support from 30 percent of Democrats, while Gray had support from just 13 percent of Republicans. The two are tied among moderate voters at 49 percent each.

Paul targeted millennials for his presidential bid, campaigning on college campuses and speaking to students about surveillance, military intervention, and criminal justice reform – issues where he doesn’t tow the establishment Republican Party line and his stances align more closely with the majority of young voters. However, he was ultimately unable to shore up the support he needed and dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucus.

Paul was one of the candidates Democrats feared would be competitive in a general election, according to recently leaked emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.

A memo to the Democratic National Committee from April 7, 2015, said, “more will need to be done on certain candidates to undermine their credibility among our coalition (communities of color, millennials, women) and independent voters.”

As for Rand, the memo said it would be necessary to undermine “the idea he is a ‘different’ kind of Republican; his stance on the military and his appeal to millennials and communities of color.”

The WKU poll also found Donald Trump is leading Hillary Clinton 54 percent to 37 percent among Kentuckians.

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