Kansas Remains Competitive In Final Week

By John Celock

A new poll shows Kansas remaining politically volatile as the campaign enters into its final week.

A poll released Tuesday by Survey USA, conducted for KSN-TV in Wichita, shows the races for governor, U.S. Senate and secretary of state as close contests. The gubernatorial and Senate races have been tight for weeks, while the secretary of state contest has bounced in recent weeks from close to a GOP lead.

In the gubernatorial race, Democrat Paul Davis leads Republican incumbent Sam Brownback 46 percent to 43 percent. Davis had led by a larger percentage in the race earlier in the year, a gap Brownback has closed since ramping up his campaign following the August primary. The poll showed that Brownback holds 67 percent support among Republicans, while Davis has 84 percent support from Democrats. The poll also shows that Brownback has narrowed the gap among independents from 27 percent to seven percent.

Davis has hammered Brownback over the Republican’s tax cuts and education policies, while Brownback and his allies have defended the cuts, along with seeking to define Davis as a liberal state lawmaker from Lawrence. Brownback has been traveling around the state in recent weeks. Seeking to push up his GOP base. Brownback and the entire Republican ticket are currently on a bus tour of the state.

In the Senate contest, independent Greg Orman leads Republican Sen. Pat Roberts 44 percent to 42 percent. Orman emerged as Roberts’ main challenger in September following Democrat Chad Taylor’s decision to drop out of the race. Roberts has sought to portray Orman as a secret Democrat who will work with Democrats in the Senate.

Roberts, who conducted a campaign shake-up following Taylor’s withdrawal, has focused much of his campaign in attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Barack Obama. Including at recent campaign stops in Great Bend and Overland Park. Roberts is also attacking Orman over donations Orman has received from Democratic donors based in New York City.

Orman has not said which party he would caucus with in the Senate, but has said that he would not vote for either Reid or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for majority leader.

In the secretary of state’s race, Republican incumbent Kris Kobach is tied with Democrat Jean Schodorf at 45 percent. The secretary of state’s race has been a Democratic priority, with Schodorf pushing a message that Kobach’s support for voter identification laws and work on illegal immigration are hurting the state. Kobach has stressed that he is ending voter fraud and that his immigration work is done in his spare time.

The poll did indicate a potential piece of good news for Kobach, with those surveyed indicating that immigration is the most important issue in the secretary of state’s race and favoring Kobach on the issue.