Republican Rand Paul, a Tea Party favored candidate, is leading his Democratic opponent Jack Conway by 5 points among likely voters,  45 percent to 40 percent, in the Kentucky race for a U.S. Senate seat, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said. USA-POLITICS/

Many voters in Kentucky, 53 percent, were unaware of the recent reports about Paul’s involvement in apparent pranks while he was a student. A GQ headlined “Rand Paul’s Kooky College Days” article described escapades including trying to force a woman to bow at a creek to a god called “Aqua Buddha” and smoke marijuana.

A small number of Republicans, 12 percent, said those stories made them MORE likely to vote for the son of two-time Republican presidential contender Ron Paul.

Of those who had heard about the alleged incidents at Baylor University, 57 percent believe they were exaggerated or fabricated and 28 percent think there is some truth to them. Those views didn’t follow straight party lines, with 40 percent of Democrats saying the incidents were exaggerated and 14 percent of Republicans saying they were true.

President Barack Obama’s ratings were negative in Kentucky, with 55 percent disapproving  of the way he is handling his job compared with 44 percent approving.