Ironically or not, Fox News shows the most conservative sense of movement in the Senate race in Kentucky.  Their latest poll shows Rand Paul pulling away from Jack Conway by seven points, with Paul hitting the magic 50% mark at 50/43.  Fox concludes that Aqua Buddha has spoken — just not the way Conway intended:

Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway’s ad questioning the Christian faith of Republican Senate rivalRand Paul seems to have backfired.

A new Fox News battleground state poll of likely voters shows Paul with a 7-point lead, 50 percent to 43 percent, but also shows voters personally displeased with Conway.

While Paul was viewed favorably by 48 percent of voters and unfavorably by 41 percent of voters, only 38 percent had a positive impression of Conway while 51 percent held an unfavorable view.

Meanwhile, PPP gives Paul a thirteen-point lead, and also assigns the big shift in support to the magic of Aqua Buddha:

Independents have moved toward Rand Paul in droves over the last month and a half and as a result he’s built his lead in the Kentucky Senate race up to 13 points at 53-40.

In a September PPP poll Paul led by 7 overall while also holding a 7 point lead with independents. Now that advantage with independents is a whooping 39 points at 66-27. There’s been virtually no movement among Democrats or Republicans over that period of time so most of the movement in the race can be attributed to that shift.

There’s been no change in Rand Paul’s favorability numbers in the wake of the controversial ‘Aqua Buddha’ ad. He’s at a net +6 (49/43), virtually identical to his +5 (45/40) a month ago. Jack Conway has seen his numbers plunge though. Where before voters split evenly in their assessments of him, giving him a favorability of 36/36, they now view him mostly in a negative light at -13 (39/52).

There’s little doubt the ad has backfired. 56% of voters say they think it was inappropriate to only 15% who think it was alright. Even Democrats feel by a 41/24 spread that it crossed the line and perhaps relating back to Conway’s huge new deficit with independents they think it was wrong by a 68/7 spread.

TPM says Aqua Buddha was an abject failure:

Here’s how the last couple weeks in the Kentucky Senate race were supposed to work for Democratic nominee Jack Conway: after pounding Republican nominee Rand Paul for his hybrid libertarian (read: strange) positions onMedicaretaxes and law enforcement, an adfocusing on Paul’s alleged college shenanigans would seal the deal for Kentucky voters. Paul would be cast as an extremist outsider, too dangerous to risk a Senate seat on.

Cue the Fail Whale. …

Further, the poll found that most voters are aware of Conway’s infamous “Aqua Buddha” ad(62% of those surveyed said they knew of it) and more than half — 56% — said it was “inappropriate.” Just 15% said it was “appropriate.”

In this election cycle, a Democrat was always going to have a Sisyphean task in Kentucky, especially with Democrats continuing to press for cap-and-trade and/or a carbon tax, either or both of which would be ruinous to Kentucky’s economy.  Conway got desperate and tried a shortcut to make his opponent look extreme and scary, and it blew up in his face.  I doubt that Conway had much of a chance in a state where Barack Obama has a 35% job approval rating anyway, but Conway drove the final coffin nail in place himself.