In Kansas, Primary Wins for Gov Brownback and Senator Roberts Do Nothing to Pave Path for Re-Election; ‘SOS’ for Incumbent GOP SOS

SurveyUSA Breaking News - 08/26/14 06:10 PM

Despite primary wins 3 weeks ago for both top-ticket incumbent Kansas Republicans – Governor Sam Brownback and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts – and despite Kansas being a reliably Red State, both Brownback and Roberts face tough re-election fights for the 11/04/14 general election, according to the latest exclusive KSN-TV poll, conducted by SurveyUSA.

In the contest for Governor, the Republican ticket of Brownback and Jeff Colyer continue to trail the Democratic ticket of Paul Davis and Jill Docking, consistent with 2 previous KSN polls conducted before the 08/05/14 primary. Today, it’s Davis 48%, Brownback 40%. Brownback holds 70% of the Republican base, compared to Davis, who holds 91% of the Democratic base. Independents break 4:3 Democratic, a troubling sign in a state such as Kansas, where Republicans often count on right-leaning independents to cushion their victory margins. More troubling, moderates break 7:2 against the incumbent, an unusually large margin in any state, in any contested race. Democrat Davis leads in all 3 regions of the state: by 10 points in greater Wichita, by 8 points in greater Kansas City KS, and by 4 points in Greater Topeka. Among men, where Red State Republican incumbents often lead by 10, 15 or 20 points, Brownback trails by 1. Brownback trails in every age group. SurveyUSA’s most recent KSN poll, on 07/22/14, also showed Davis 8 atop Brownback. A 06/23/14 KSN poll showed Davis 6 atop Brownback.

Voters split on which issue is most important in the Governor’s contest: those who say “tax rates” are most important break by 26 points for Brownback. Those who say “education” is most important break by 43 points for Davis.

In the contest for United States Senator, Independent Greg Orman continues to make life difficult for both 3-term Republican Roberts and his Democratic challenger. Today, it’s Roberts 37%, Democrat Chad Taylor 32%, Orman at 20%, and Libertarian Randall Batson at 4%. These results are largely consistent with SurveyUSA’s most recent KSN poll, conducted before the 08/05/14 primary, which also showed Roberts 5 points atop Taylor. In its 3 looks at the 11/04/14 general election, SurveyUSA had Orman at 7% on 06/14/14, at 14% on 07/22/14, and at 20% today. Orman siphons votes across the board. He gets 20% of conservatives, 24% of moderates and 17% of liberals. Roberts holds just 62% of the Republican base. Taylor holds 74% of the Democratic base. 38% of independents, a plurality, vote for Orman, who, among Independents beats both Roberts and Taylor. Some comfort for Roberts: he leads in all 3 regions of the state, though he has less than 40% support in every Kansas corner. Roberts breaks 40% among those with a high-school education, but fails to break 40% among the more educated. Roberts fails to break 40% among any income group.

Voters say the economy is the most important issue in the Senate race. Among voters who choose the economy as most important, Davis leads 4:3. Among voters who say that Obamacare is most important, and among voters who say that Immigration is most important, Roberts leads 2:1.

In the contest for Secretary of State, incumbent Republican Kris Kobach and Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf are tied, 46% each. Kobach leads by 10 points among men. Schodorf leads by 9 points among women, a 19-point gender gap. Kobach holds 81% of the Republican base. Schodorf holds 89% of the Democratic base. Both independents and moderates break for the Democrat. Voters say that immigration is the most important issue in their vote for Secretary of State, and among voters who name immigration as most important, Kobach leads 2:1. Among voters who name voter registration as most important, Kobach leads narrowly. Only among voters who name campaign-finance reform as most important does Schodorf lead. The regional breakdowns are tight: Kobach and Schodorf are tied at 47% each in greater Kansas City KS. The Democrat leads by a nominal 3 points in greater Wichita. The Republican leads by 9 in greater Topeka.

Cell-phone and home-phone respondents included in this research: SurveyUSA interviewed 900 state of Kansas adults 08/20/14 through 08/23/14. Of the adults, 740 were registered to vote. Of the registered, 560 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 11/04/14 general election. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed-mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (72% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephones in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (28% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.

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