Political wonks who tuned in to the Kentucky Senate debate on Fox News Sunday were looking for two things: to see if Republican Rand Paul would say something radical and to see if Democrat Jack Conway would live up to the accusation that he's a leftist who would rubber stamp Obama's policies. "Look, I'm a Democrat and a proud Democrat; I'm certainly not going to be left of President Obama. I'm going to put Kentucky first," Conway defended, seemingly careful to distance himself from the president. "I wouldn't have voted for the bailouts, not enough accountability."
"To put our head in the sand and just say, ‘We're going to keep borrowing more money' is not going to work. There will have to be changes for the younger generation," Paul argued.
That issue strikes a chord with older voters, especially those retired or nearing retirement. However, analysts say the older voters didn't support Paul before the debate anyway.
"Jack Conway is winning the older demographic already, which is, why I believe the race is already a coin toss," says strategist Robert Gunnell, before pointing to a silver lining for Paul. "The demographic that is harder to get people motivated is the one that Rand Paul is winning."
That demographic is motivated by Paul's tendency to make harsh or irreverent comments that a more polished politician might soften. Paul gave them what they wanted with a series of barbs at Conway including a crack about poll numbers.
"We're waiting for him to catch up a little bit in the polls and then we'll talk so far as running away from Obama and the agenda," Paul teased
But the polls have never told a very clear tale. Following the debate, it does not seem that one candidate will be defined as a clear leader.
You can watch the debate on Fox News Sunday's page here
Michael Tobin joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Chicago-based correspondent.