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Archive for Monday, October 29, 2012

Town Talk: Kansas poll shows Romney with big lead, majority still supports Brownback; Democrats retain big edge in numbers in Douglas County; Lawrence artist sells work to Smithsonian

October 29, 2012

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News and notes from around town:

• I wonder what it must be like to live in Ohio these days. Based on all the media coverage of the different presidential polls being taken in the ultimate swing state, every time the phone rings it must be a pollster. (Unless you are an “undecided” voter. In that case, the phone call is actually from a groveling politician.)

Here in Kansas no one seems to care about our opinions. (I don’t take it personally. It has been years since anyone in my own household has sought my opinion.)

Surprisingly, though, there has been a poll taken on the presidential race in Kansas. If you remember a couple of weeks ago we reported on how a D.C. politico has moved to Lawrence and set up a polling company. Mark Sump, president of Activate, has conducted what he is calling the Jayhawk Poll. (Every time a Wildcat fan was contacted, the first 15 minutes of the survey was consumed by Wildcat fans making jokes about how Jayhawk and poll don’t go together during football season. When the pollster agreed that it was an oxymoron, K-State fans became offended and said there was no need for name calling.)

Anyway, there was no surprise in the presidential race in Kansas. The state’s solid Republican support continues. Republican Mitt Romney polled at 56 percent of the vote, while President Barack Obama garnered 36.2 percent. About 4.2 percent listed themselves as undecided. (I think they are really just saying that in hopes Soledad O’Brien will interview them on CNN.)

What is a bit surprising is that President Obama’s favorable/unfavorable rating came in a bit higher than some may expect in such a Republican stronghold. About 45.7 percent of respondents gave the president a favorable rating, while 51.8 percent ranked him unfavorable. Romney did better with 63.3 percent ranking him favorably, while 33.6 percent ranked him unfavorable. The pollsters asked respondents to give each candidate a score of 0 to 100, with scores above 50 being counted as favorable and those below 50 being counted as unfavorable. The poll results didn’t reveal an overall average score for each candidate.

The most interesting part of the poll, however, may be the findings about two statewide politicians. Sump asked for favorability ratings on Gov. Sam Brownback and Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

I think some folks in Lawrence have deluded themselves into thinking the state has turned against the governor. The poll certainly doesn’t show that, but I’m not sure the numbers are where Brownback’s folks would like them. The survey found 55.1 percent of respondents gave Brownback a favorable rating, while 37.3 percent gave him an unfavorable rating.

Kobach had a 34.4 percent favorable rating and a 25.8 percent unfavorable rating. Interestingly, 39.7 percent either had not heard of Kobach or had no opinion of him. Kobach certainly is one of the more notable secretaries of state in the country, but as this poll reminds us, he is still just a secretary of state.

Sump is what you would consider a Democratic pollster. His claim to fame is having worked for Bill Clinton’s two presidential campaigns, and his Activate company does most of its business with Democratic candidates. But the poll is a scientific one with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percent. The poll contacted 1,225 registered Kansas voters, and as you would expect in this state, it was heavy on Republicans. About 45 percent of the respondents were Republican, 24 percent Democrat and about 24 percent independent. About 48 percent identified themselves as political conservatives, while only 12 percent identified themselves as liberal.

Sump mainly conducted the poll as a way of giving his Lawrence polling center some work while it was getting established. He said he would like to do the poll again next year, but will have to find a group or media organization that is willing to pay for it.

• If the Jayhawk Poll were taken just in Douglas County, Republicans would be the smallest of the three major political groups.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew has tallied up the voter registration totals for the upcoming election, and recently had them certified by the Kansas Secretary of State’s office.

Unaffiliated independents are the largest group in the county, numbering 28,028 or about 35.5 percent of the 78,752 total registered voters in the county.

Democrats number 27,194 or 34.5 percent. Republicans check in at 22,706 or 28.8 percent.

Other parties represented include:

— Americans Elect: 13 people

— Libertarian: 759

— Reform: 52

Shew said voter registration rolls grew by about 3,700 since August.

• It wouldn’t take a very large boat to house all the local folks in the Americans Elect party. Maybe one about the size George Washington used to cross the Delaware. If you are not familiar with that boat, just take a look at the picture to the side of this article.

And no, that’s not George Washington. Instead that is Lawrence artist Roger Shimomura’s take on the famous painting from America’s history. Shimomura’s piece is making news these days.

His work, “Shimomura Crossing the Delaware,” has been purchased by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to be included in its permanent collection.

Roger Shimomura's "Shimomura Crossing the Delaware," which just recently was purchased by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

Roger Shimomura's "Shimomura Crossing the Delaware," which just recently was purchased by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

If you are not familiar with Shimomura, he has built up an international reputation as a Japanese-American artist who tackles sociopolitical themes. The “Shimomura Crossing the Delaware” is a 6-foot-by-12-foot acrylic on canvas painting that plays off the famous Washington Crossing the Delaware painting, but Shimomura’s boat is full of a Japanese crew.

This latest purchase adds to Shimomura’s national résumé He already has works in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the American History Museum and the Archives of American Art.

I got to know Shimomura just briefly when I wrote an article about him last year, detailing how he spent part of his childhood in an interment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II. He’s one of the more interesting and complex people I’ve chatted with.

I could tell you more about that experience, and as you would expect, I could provide a dissertation on the finer points of art of all styles. But I won’t. I have to prepare for my interview with Soledad. I just know she is going to knock on my door at any moment.

Comments

jaychalk 2 years, 2 months ago

Chad, can you look into what might be going into the Orchard Corners in the old Brass Apple (I am dating myself) location? It looks like there has been some construction there for the past couple of weeks.

Kevin Kohls 2 years, 2 months ago

Folks will keep supporting Brownback till the tax measures he pushed through cause an enormous shortfall and bankrupt the state and education. It's coming.

FlintHawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't know if you're a "hick," but it seems your reading comprehension could be improved. To wit:

". . . the poll is a scientific one with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percent. The poll contacted 1,225 registered Kansas voters . . . . About 48 percent identified themselves as political conservatives, while only 12 percent identified themselves as liberals."

That would be 12 percent STATEWIDE, consumer1. You clearly would be surprised to learn the distribution of that 12%.

Typical r-w tactics: Your assertion that we "know better than the other 88%" is an opinion. Do you know the difference between (1) factual statements, (2) statements of opinion and (3) lies?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 2 months ago

With just a wee bit of common sense, it's pretty easy to distinguish between statements offered as fact, lies and opinions. This one was real easy, don't you think?

Sean Livingstone 2 years, 2 months ago

As an economic conservative, I'd say that the Republican Party is no better than the Democratic Party. You guys throw out Ron Paul who is the only true economic conservative (though with weird plans), and put in a guy who has no stand at all. He was a liberal and now he's a conservative? I'm abandoning the Republican Party... for a third party that we badly needed.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

He's a closet socialist. He only looks like a conservative to you because you are a liberal and obama is pandering to the center.

Armstrong 2 years, 2 months ago

Nobody hates Barry, he's just a horrid president.

booyalab 2 years, 1 month ago

It's hilarious how incompetent liberals are at understanding opposing viewpoints.

Btw, conservatives and libertarians don't have that problem. We understand you perfectly. In fact, our understanding is so nuanced that we even know that you're not all bad. Many of your politicians are greedy and immoral, but most of the voters have good intentions combined with poor critical thinking skills.

akuna 2 years, 2 months ago

I too am a Republican. But after Bush's first term, I decided I needed to broaden my horizons. After his 2nd term, I decided the Republican Party was no longer a good, viable party to bring strength and prosperity to our country. I voted for Obama in 2008. After seeing what Mitt Romney brings to the table, I'm afraid I'll have to vote Obama again. He truly is the least offensive of the two. The linked article goes into quite a bit about why Romney won't make a good, Republican president. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/09/1142432/-The-Reason-s-McCain-Chose-Palin-Over-Romney

booyalab 2 years, 1 month ago

Linking to the dailykos? You're not even trying to be a good concern troll.

akuna 2 years, 1 month ago

Like I said, I broadened my horizons. Besides, do you think FoxNews would say anything bad about Romney? I don't think so. Which is another reason I needed to broaden my horizons.

Centerville 2 years, 2 months ago

Nobody 'hates' Obama. He had a chance to prove himself and he just ruined everything he touched. Time to hit the road.

KEITHMILES05 2 years, 2 months ago

Stunning that Mitty scores only 56% of the vote. If he doesn't garner close to 70% then he is a failure.

The electorates in this state who continue to pound their chest for Browny are going to get a huge surprise when the programs they love are shelved, not enough revenue to balance the budget, then he will push broad tax increases.

As the saying goes "be careful what you wish for and get." LOL

It's a disgrace what this man is doing to the integrity of our state. The future is very dim with him at the helm.

I proudly fired the GOP this fall and am now unaffiliated. The GOP has lost all sense of reasonableness and compassion and moral integrity.

KEITHMILES05 2 years, 2 months ago

Stunning that Mitty scores only 56% of the vote. If he doesn't garner close to 70% then he is a failure.

The electorates in this state who continue to pound their chest for Browny are going to get a huge surprise when the programs they love are shelved, not enough revenue to balance the budget, then he will push broad tax increases.

As the saying goes "be careful what you wish for and get." LOL

It's a disgrace what this man is doing to the integrity of our state. The future is very dim with him at the helm.

I proudly fired the GOP this fall and am now unaffiliated. The GOP has lost all sense of reasonableness and compassion and moral integrity.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

Mitt and Bain make huge bundles of money sending USA jobs and Industry to China and India. For about the past 30 years or so.

Why should Americans feel good about that? Seems Anti American to me.

JackMcKee 2 years, 2 months ago

A full 30-35% of Kansas would support Brownback no matter what, he's bible loving and abortion hatin'. That's all they need to know. If Sam drops below 50% support in Kansas the tea party, Kochs and the Kansas radical right wing agenda has some real problems.

Let's wait and see what happens when Sam's reckless tax plan has a chance to work it's poison.

JackMcKee 2 years, 2 months ago

Let's also face the fact that the very people that Sam wants to retain in Kansas, the young men and women that Kansas spends money to educate, are repulsed by Brownback and his ilk. It is their policies and kind that drive talented young people away from Kansas. Kansas is in a death spiral. The people needed to create change in the state are the ones that just throw up their hands and move somewhere that has reasonable politics.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

Well yeah, Romney is ahead in Kansas, but did you call all the young smart people with cell phones? They will make the difference and re-elect Obama and throw out Brownback.

If you don't believe me, ask any leftist.

Nikki May 2 years, 1 month ago

Blah blah blah, Kansas is republican. Moving on.

Congrats to Roger on the painting. I clicked on the article to read that part! I suspected that was who it was going to be about. I love his work, and also I spent a ton of time in the A&D building when I was at KU. He was always one of my favorite teachers to watch.

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