October 5, 2014
10/5: Kansas: Orman Leads Roberts in Senate Race… Brownback Fighting for Political Life
In the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas, independent candidate and businessman Greg Orman leads Republican incumbent Pat Roberts by 10 points among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Orman’s lead is bolstered by better than a two-to-one lead among independents likely to vote.
Voters’ impressions of incumbent Republican Roberts is upside down with nearly half of likely voters viewing him negatively. In contrast, Orman is more positively viewed by likely voters and has lower negatives.
Turning to the contest for governor in Kansas, the Republican incumbent, Sam Brownback, faces a tough challenge from Democratic state legislator Paul Davis. Davis, 44%, and Brownback, 43%, are neck and neck among Kansas likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.
Both of these campaigns are taking place against a backdrop of dissatisfaction with elected officials in Washington. Many Kansans are displeased with how the Republicans and Democrats are performing in office. A majority also expresses frustration with President Barack Obama.
“Kansas voters are facing an unusual and unexpected matchup in what has become a pivotal race for control of the U.S. Senate,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Fewer than half of likely voters are firmly committed to their choice, and nearly one in ten is still undecided.”
- Among Kansas likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 48% support Orman while 38% are for Roberts in the race for U.S. Senate in Kansas. Libertarian candidate Randall Batson receives 5%, and 9% are undecided.
- Orman, 57%, leads Roberts, 27%, by 30 points among independents likely to vote. Independent Orman receives 16% of likely Republican voters while Republican Roberts garners only 8% of Democrats.
- Only 43% of likely voters statewide with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate strongly support their choice. 40% are somewhat committed to their pick, and 14% might vote differently. Among likely voters who back Orman, 48% are firmly in his corner. 40% of Roberts’ supporters are strongly committed to him. While a plurality of likely voters with a candidate preference, 44%, say they are backing their candidate because they are for him, 49% are doing so because they are against his opponents. 53% of Roberts’ voters support him because they are for him while a majority of Orman’s backers, 55%, says they support Orman because they are against his opponents.
- Among Kansas registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Orman has 46% to 36% for Roberts and 5% for Batson.
- Roberts’ has high negatives. 37% of Kansas likely voters have a positive impression of him while 47% have a negative one. Looking at likely voters’ opinions of Orman, 46% like him while 26% do not.
- In the governor’s race in Kansas, Davis receives 44% to 43% for Brownback among Kansas likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Libertarian Keen Umbehr has 4%.
- While 78% of Republicans likely to vote support Brownback, and 85% of Democratic likely voters are for Davis, 49% of independents likely to vote back Davis compared with 34% for Brownback.
- Looking at intensity of support in the governor’s contest, 55% of Kansas likely voters with a candidate preference are strongly committed to their selection, and 31% are somewhat behind their choice. 12% might vote differently. Among Davis’ supporters, 59% strongly back him. This compares with 55% of those who are for Brownback who express a similar level of commitment.
- 52% of likely voters with a candidate preference for governor say they are supporting their candidate because they are for him. This compares with 43% who report they plan to vote for their selection because they are against the other candidates in the race. 72% of Brownback’s supporters are for him while 60% of Davis’ backers say they are voting for him because they oppose the others.
- Among Kansas registered voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 43% are for Davis, and 41% are for Brownback. Five percent of registered voters support Umbehr.
- 50% of likely voters statewide have an unfavorable opinion of Brownback while 41% have a positive one. Only 30% of likely voters have a negative view of Davis, and 43% have a positive one. A notable 27% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.
- Brownback’s approval rating is also lopsided. 38% of Kansas residents approve of the job Brownback is doing as governor, and 49% disapprove.
High Level of Dissatisfaction with Elected Officials in Washington
At least a majority of Kansas residents are unhappy with the job President Obama and the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are doing. Nearly seven in ten residents think the country is heading in the wrong direction.
- Only 35% of Kansas residents approve of the job President Obama is doing in office. A majority, 54%, disapproves.
- When it comes to the president’s favorable rating, 39% have a positive opinion of him while 53% have a negative one.
- Looking at residents’ assessments of the job the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are doing, 64% disapprove of the GOP, and 58% of disapprove of the Democrats.
- Close to seven in ten Kansans are pessimistic about the direction of the nation. 68% say the country is on the wrong course while 23% report it is on the right track.
Half Have Negative View of Obamacare
When it comes to residents’ views of Obamacare, more Kansans think it is a bad idea than a good one.
- 50% of Kansas residents consider Obamacare a bad idea. This includes 43% who strongly have this opinion. In contrast, 31% of adults statewide, including 21% who strongly have this view, believe the new health care law is a good idea. 20% have no opinion on the subject or are unsure.