Archive for Sunday, October 30, 2016

Poll: Trump narrowly leads in Kansas; Supreme Court Justices battle for retention

Ruth Meier, from Silver Lake, Kan, votes at the Prairie Home Cemetery building, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Ruth Meier, from Silver Lake, Kan, votes at the Prairie Home Cemetery building, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

October 30, 2016


— Slightly less than half of likely voters in Kansas say they plan to vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to a survey by Fort Hays State University, putting him only eight percentage points above Democrat Hillary Clinton.

If that holds true, Trump would still win Kansas' six electoral votes, but with only a slightly larger percentage than Barry Goldwater received in 1964, the last time a Republican candidate lost in Kansas.

The lowest GOP performance in Kansas in recent years was 1992, when George H.W. Bush won the state with 39 percent of the vote in a three-way race with Democrat Bill Clinton and Reform Party candidate H. Ross Perot.

Among likely voters who have committed to a candidate, the poll showed 47 percent supporting Trump and 39 percent supporting Clinton. In 1964, Goldwater lost Kansas after getting only 45 percent

Meanwhile, voters appear split on whether to retain the five Kansas Supreme Court justices who are up for retention this year. Nearly half of those surveyed said they would vote to oust at least some of the justices.

And among likely voters, when asked to rate each of the six justices individually, fewer than half said they would vote to retain them, while about one-fourth said they would vote to oust the justice, and roughly one-third said they were undecided.

The "Kansas Speaks" survey has been conducted periodically by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State since 2009. The current poll included telephone interviews with 1,043 Kansas residents age 18 and over from Sept. 1 through Oct. 13. Of those, 892 were identified as likely voters.

The margin of error for the entire sample was 3 percent. The margin of error among the subgroup of likely voters was 3.2 percent.

Presidential race

The poll suggested that a large number of Republican voters in Kansas who would be expected to vote for the GOP candidate have instead shifted their support this year to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who showed up at 9 percent in the Kansas Speaks poll.

"Trump is polling, right on the money, 10 points below what (2012 GOP candidate) Mitt Romney got in Kansas," said Michael Smith, a political science professor at Emporia State University and a senior policy fellow at the Docking Institute. "It looks like the vast majority of those are going to Gary Johnson."

Clinton, meanwhile, is polling at almost the exact average of 38 percent that Democratic candidates have gotten in Kansas the last four presidential elections.

Judicial retention

This year's judicial retention races have drawn an unusually large amount of attention as conservative groups have campaigned to oust four of the five justices on the ballot.

"Reject all but Stegall" has been the slogan of one group, Better Judges for Kansas, a political group established by the anti-abortion coalition Kansans for Life.

KFL and other groups say the want to retain Justice Caleb Stegall, the only member of the court appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback.

Another group, Kansans for Fair Courts, has been campaigning to retain all five justices on the ballot.

Voters, however, did not seem to be following either side's suggestions, according to the Kansas Speaks poll, because the numbers were remarkably similar for each of the five.

Among likely voters, when asked about each justice individually, 43 to 45 percent said they would vote to retain that justice, while 20-22 percent said they would vote not to retain them, and 35-36 percent said they were not sure.

And notably, Stegall, the only justice that nobody is campaigning to defeat, had the lowest numbers of the group: 43 percent in favor of retaining, 22 percent in favor of ousting, and 36 percent undecided.

Smith said those results could mean that most voters don't make fine distinctions between justices. Or it could mean that the message defining Stegall as Brownback's appointee has gotten through and fired up the anti-Brownback voters just as much as the anti-court voters.

The poll found that only 19 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with Brownback's performance in office, while nearly three out of four (74 percent) were dissatisfied, including 62 percent who said they were "very dissatisfied."

By contrast, 53 percent said they were satisfied with the performance of the Supreme Court. But only 29 percent were satisfied with the Kansas Legislature.

"It's a possible backlash effect," Smith said.

2018 governor's race

Looking ahead to 2018, the poll also asked about several politicians who are thought to be eying the next governor's race, even though no one yet has officially announced plans to run.

Among Republicans, Secretary of State Kris Kobach had the highest name recognition, at 81 percent, but also the lowest approval rating.

Almost the exact opposite was true for Attorney General Derek Schmidt, whose name was recognizable to less than half (48 percent) of the people who responded. But among those who had heard of him, he received the second highest rating.

The survey asked people to rate each politician on a scale from minus 5 to plus five, with minus five meaning "highly negative" and plus five meaning "highly positive."

Among the Republicans tested in the poll, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins had the highest average rating of plus 0.63, followed by Schmidt at 0.50 and 3rd District U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo of Wichita at 0.27.

Kobach had an average rating of negative 0.65.

Democrat Paul Davis, a Lawrence attorney who lost the gubernatorial race in 2014 to Republican Sam Brownback, had the highest approval rating among the politicians included in the survey, at plus 1.40.

Key issues

The Kansas Speaks poll also asked people's opinions on several key policy issues facing the state.

Among all respondents:

• President Barack Obama's approval rating has risen to 40 percent, up eight points from the last poll conducted in July, and up 22 points from the October 2015 poll.

• 62 percent said they either somewhat or strongly support expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.

• 56 percent said they think student loan debt is a "major problem" for Kansas, while only 9 percent said it was not a problem at all.

• 71 percent said they had at least some confidence that the voting procedures in Kansas are transparent and verifiable.

• Half of the respondents said requiring photo ID at the polls and proof of citizenship to register has done more to reduce voter fraud, while 42 percent said the major effect has been to make it more difficult for otherwise eligible voters to vote.

• 61 percent said the state should repeal the tax law that exempts income derived from pass-through businesses such as limited liability corporations from state income tax.

• 55 percent oppose the so-called "constitutional carry" law allowing people to carry concealed weapons without training or a permit. That includes 44 percent who said they strongly oppose it.

• Almost two-thirds, 64 percent, oppose abortion under most circumstances.


Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year ago

If you vote not to retain the judges, you are voting for Brownback. If you don't like what Brownback has done to our state, then you will vote to retain the judges.

Gene Douglas 1 year ago

I say this as respectfully as I can....not a black and white issue ...ask yourself this you want convicted,double-dipping, serial murderers gaining parole like Gary Kleypas or like BTK writing killing manuals, or even a slim chance the Carr brothers walking the streets again?....The far left ideology is off the em out...only Brownback has the cojones to go up against what is becoming a far left culture which is a threat to even YOU....but your bleeding heart will not listen.

Mike Green 1 year ago

Dude, take a deep breath, turn off you computer, back off the coffee, consider going to CO. and buying some weed.

Greg Cooper 1 year ago

Gene, its important that you actually research the Carr case, guy. The Carrs will not be released, contrary to what talking points you've adopted. The issue with them was procedural, not substantive, and they will remain imprisoned. Your blood lust for them may be unfulfilled, but they will not be a threat to society.

My bleeding heart, by the way, does not allow anyone a pass on the procedure of law, defense or prosecsution. I suspect that, if you were to be charged with a crime, you'd want the best in criminal defense and your attorneys to follow all the rules they could to get you acquitted, or your sentence reduced. That's what bleeding heart liberals champion, bud, not letting guilty people roam the streets. How silly of you to think so.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year ago

Why not get yourself informed, Gene. It was the original trail judge who screwed up. And these guys were never set free. I realize that the families want their revenge, but the public was still safe from these criminals. And the decision was overturned, so the family will get their revenge, after all the appeals, and if Kansas ever does complete a death sentence. They haven't for a very long time. You and your friends are either uninformed or liars. Which do you want to be?

Teri Griffin-Guntert 1 year ago

Not true! Voting out "Activist Judges" is the point, here. How well do you know the many cases where several criminals were let off by the activist judges who reversed time deserved to such severe criminals? What about their victims? Are you saying you don't care about the victims as much as you care about letting criminals off the hook?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year ago

Would you care to list these criminals? Lots of lies, no evidence. And maybe if a criminal gets off, because a local judge or prosecutor didn't do their job, then you should be mad at them. The supreme court is to keep our system honest. But you Brownback supporters just want to end public education. Just admit it, and quit pretending to be some law and order person.

Greg Cooper 1 year ago

Teri, your comment is exactly the thing I am talking about. You use the "how many guilty have the liberal courts released" thing as a justification for getting rid of justices who did nothing at all like that. What they did was to uphold the rule of law that says everyone--not just those you like--is to be given every iota of protection by the courts.

I care about the victims just as you do, Teri, but I can't think of an instance in modern times in which a judge or court released or refused to prosecute anyone who was indicted or charged, with evidence obtained legally. Legally, Teri, is the active word here. And legally does not equate with hearsay, innuendo, talking points, or anything short of being absolutely sure the accused is tried fairly and legally.

And, too, it would be instructive for you to cite such instances, Teri. The truth might be of interest to you.

Calvin Anders 1 year ago

Dorothy, agreed that voting to oust judges is a vote for Brownie's agenda (except voting to get rid of Stegall). But also, a vote to oust the judges is a vote against checks and balances. It's a vote that the court must be a rubber stamp for the Governor and Legislature or face removal. The consequences will be felt long after Brownie is gone. Brownie has proven he has no interest in choosing prudent legal scholars. He just wants conservative judicial activists who will support his agenda. He wants to stack the court with political hacks who have no interest in their duty to the law.

MerriAnnie Smith 1 year ago

I'm aghast at how many people don't realize that voting NO to retain the judges is voting YES to Brownback's full control of this state... that to vote NO to retain the judges is the same as saying Brownback should be free to control the legislature and the courts... with zero accountability for what he does in his last two years.

I believe questions like that, when they go on the ballot, should be clearly explained to the voters in case they don't pay attention to the news at all. Don't assume they understand what will happen.

Vote No to retain the judges, and the consequence will be that the governor gets to choose who will replace them.

It barely takes up any space on the ballot to say that.

Did Kobach have anything to do with how this was worded on the ballot?

Imagine, with his very high disapproval rating, most voters will say they don't like him... but then they'll let him fool them on ballot questions.

Is there anybody out there who has any control over Kobach's wrongdoings?

It would be the voters, but they're not wise enough to pay attention.

Teri Griffin-Guntert 1 year ago

MerriAnnie, please share with us the cases that these judges ruled on and how the victims feel. These are activist judges, plain and simple. No please do not reply, respectfully, without the list of each of the outcomes for all the criminals that got off in comparison to their egregious crimes. We all deserve to know what type of criminals these current judges are allowing to run our streets and state.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year ago

You are quite confusing Teri. Above you claim posted this: "Not true! Voting out "Activist Judges" is the point, here. How well do you know the many cases where several criminals were let off by the activist judges who reversed time deserved to such severe criminals? What about their victims? Are you saying you don't care about the victims as much as you care about letting criminals off the hook?"

Now you are demanding a list of criminals they have let go? You are the one that needs to supply this. Weird.

MerriAnnie Smith 1 year ago

No, Teri, they are not activist judges. They judge according to the Kansas constitution.

If Brownback and this legislature doesn't like our Constitution the way to go about changing it is to legislate for that and have the people vote on the change.

Obviously you fell for the lie that this is about the victims. It is not. Victims are to be pitied and sympathized with... but they are not to be allowed to change our constitution by allowing themselves to be USED as FOOLS for Brownback to be able to choose the judges. The ONLY two reasons he currently wants that control is to try to stop abortion rights and to be able to ignore the constitution where school funding is concerned.

Teri, you really need to educate yourself on this one thing before you vote. You are being used like dirty toilet paper by this man who has already done more damage to Kansas than any other governor in recent history. He's USING you by appealing to the victims in this case when their killers were found guilty and will remain that way. This is not a matter of giving them a new trial to be found guilty. I bet you think it is based on the lying commercials the Koch boys put out about it.

This new trial is for nothing more than to do it right this time in the penalty trial. This is the United States of America where we demand that trials are done according to the constitution where the most important thing is to do it right. It was not done right. So it will be done again. But it will not change the penalty because it doesn't matter in kansas whether you have the death penalty or not. Nobody is executed in Kansas.


I am so infuriated at the people of this state who are letting this governor take over the courts as he has the legislature. Good God, people. Wake your stupid selves up!!

Michael Kort 1 year ago

Vote out judge Stagall, the KOCHBOT-Brownie appointee who was never even a traffic court judge before brownie "made him" to the KS .Court of Appeals followed by "making him" to the KsState Supreme Court !

Retain the other Supreme Court Judges that Brownie wants to replace with more SPECIAL PEOPLE .

How well has Brownback done with running this State ?........Oh, not so good ?.........then why allow him to stack the court system with cronies who will allow his to further his attacks on public education with their beholden votes ?

Why would anyone believe that he would do any better at running the Supreme Court thru himself making appointments ?

The judges that brownie wants to replace are all that stands between brownie and his desire to not only destroy public education but also take over the Supreme Court to void our systems separation of powers between executive, legislative and the courts .

Brownie disrespects the constitution and the voters common sense as usual !

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