Has there ever been any repainting done? Getting color on the pad means either you are already down to the base coat, or if repainting was done then you may be on a panel that has been blended and a small amount of color was mixed with the clear.
A scratch that catches your fingernail is usually too deep to be removed by polishing. You can probably reduce it by wet sanding and polishing but you run the risk of sanding through the clear to the base coat. Then the only solution will be painting.