The knock on Rand Paul from both Republicans and Democrats during the primary was his electability in a general election.  His conservo-libertarian views would push the Republican ticket out of the mainstream, allowing the eventual Democratic nominee to grab the center and win a takeaway in the midterms.  Rasmussen’s latest poll of likely voters in Kentucky show that the problem may be reversed, and that Jack Conway is in serious danger of being marginalized:

Rand Paul, riding the momentum of his big Republican Primary win on Tuesday, now posts a 25-point lead over Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, but there’s a lot of campaigning to go.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Kentucky, taken Wednesday night, shows Paul earning 59% of the vote, while Conway picks up 34% support. Four percent (4%) percent prefer some other candidate, and three percent (3%) are undecided.

Conway can’t even make the sale among Democrats:

Since winning the primary, Paul has gained ground among Republican voters and is now supported by 82% of the GOP faithful. That figure is up from 69% earlier. Paul also earns 73% support from unaffiliated voters at this time. That, too, reflects a huge bounce following the primary victory …

Conway, on the other hand, attracts support from just 59% of Democrats. Most conservative Democrats currently prefer Paul over the Democratic nominee. Conservative Democrats represent just under 15% of all Kentucky voters.

That’s hardly the only problem Conway faces, either.  His favorability rating is a -1, 44/45, with only 15% being “very favorable” of Conway against 20% “very unfavorable.”  Among independents, it drops to 36/49, with 15% undecided.  Comparatively, Paul has a favorability rating of +41 (69/28), with indies giving him an 74/25 favorability split.

Even if the Democrats continue to attack Paul as an extremist or nut, which has already begun, it’s going to take a lot of erosion to bring Paul down to Conway’s low favorability ratings.  It doesn’t do anything to build Conway, either.  In a state as conservative as Kentucky, a Democrat has to have a substantial amount of personal popularity to overcome the fact that his election will enable an agenda antithetical to Kentucky’s electorate.  Not only does Conway not have that, at the moment he’s in negative territory.

Paul’s challenge to Barack Obama to campaign in Kentucky was a smart move, according to the poll’s internals.  Obama has a deeply underwater job approval, 36/63, with a majority of likely voters strongly disapproving of his performance.  Except for the youngest voters, every age demographic has a strong majority disapproving; among independents, it’s 31/65.  And the youngest voters are overwhelmingly supporting Paul, 58/32.  Nineteen percent of black voters strongly disapprove of Obama, and 88% of “other” ethnicities also strongly disapprove.

It’s still early in Kentucky, but the internals show that one of the nominees is a fringe, marginal candidate.  It’s just not the Republican.