PPP's newest Kansas poll finds Pat Roberts badly damaged by his recent primary contest, and leading for reelection largely thanks to divided opposition. Roberts has emerged from the primary with only a 27% approval rating to 44% of voters who disapprove of him. That represents an 8 point net decline from his already poor numbers in February, when he stood at 29/38.
Roberts is polling at only 32% for November, followed by Democrat Chad Taylor at 25%, independent Greg Orman at 23%, and Libertarian Randall Batson at 3%. As weak as a 32% standing is for an incumbent, that still gives him a pretty clear lead due to his opponents pretty much splitting the anti-Roberts vote evenly. But if one of them was to pull out Roberts would really be in trouble.
In a head to head contest with Taylor, Roberts would lead just 43/39, down from a 48/32 advantage in February. And in a head to head contest with Orman, Roberts trails 43/33. Orman would take 30% of the Republican vote while losing only 11% of Democrats to Roberts, and would lead by 41 points with independents at 54/13. Orman is still relatively unknown- only 36% name recognition- but is at a 24/12 favorability spread among those who do have an opinion about him. He is seen favorably by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
Roberts continues to be plagued by his residency issues. Only 18% of voters think he spends enough time in the state, compared to 61% who think he doesn't. There is very little partisan divide on that issue- 64% of Democrats, 63% of independents, and 59% of Republicans think he doesn't spend enough time in the state. Only 30% of voters think Roberts considers Kansas to be his home, compared to 50% who don't, and again there is bipartisan consensus on that issue.
In the race for Governor we continue to find Democratic challenger Paul Davis with a small lead over Sam Brownback, 39/37, with Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr at 9%. This is actually an unusual instance where the Libertarian candidate is helping the Republican- Umbehr supporters say their second choice would be Davis by a 65/21 margin over Brownback, and when you reallocate those folks to their second choice Davis' lead expands to 44/39. Umbehr's presence in the race is actually doing Brownback a favor by splitting the opposition to him some.
Once you get past these two heavily damaged incumbents everything in Kansas politically appears to be what you would normally expect in the heavily Republican state. Barack Obama is deeply unpopular, with only 33% of voters approving of him to 59% who disapprove. Secretary of State Kris Kobach leads challenger Jean Schodorf by a relatively close 43/38 spread, but when you get beyond that race all the Republicans lead by double digits. In the race for Insurance Commissioner Republican Ken Selzer leads Democrat Dennis Anderson 43/29 and in the races for Attorney General and State Treasurer Republicans Derek Schmidt and Ron Estes lead Democratic opponents A.J. Kotich and Carmen Alldritt by identical 49/25 margins. But Roberts and Brownback's unpopularity is serving to make Kansas a lot more interesting than usual this fall.
Full results here