LJWorld.com weblogs Statehouse Live

Poll shows Clinton leading in Kansas; broad dissatisfaction with Legislature


Kansans are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with their state government and with their choice of presidential candidates, according to a new poll released Friday.

But when given a choice between the two parties’ presumptive nominees, a plurality (43-36 percent) said they prefer Democrat Hillary Clinton to Republican Donald Trump, while 21 percent are currently undecided.

If those trends hold through November, it would mark a historic shift in Kansas politics, where no Democratic presidential candidate has won Kansas since 1964, when Lyndon Johnson carried it over Barry Goldwater, 54-45 percent.

The poll by John Zogby Strategies was commissioned by the Kansas Health Foundation and was released Friday in conjunction with a symposium being conducted in Wichita. The random survey of 433 registered voters was conducted June 4-6 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percent.

Speaking in a telephone interview from Wichita, pollster John Zogby said the results were surprising for such a solidly Republican state as Kansas.

“The Republicans have some work to do to earn the red state status this time,” he said. “You’ve got the presumptive nominee, Trump, polling only 36 percent. That’s some making up to do.”

But Kansas University political science professor Patrick Miller said the numbers weren’t completely surprising, especially on the Democratic side where Clinton’s 43 percent is about on par with how Democratic presidential candidates tend to do in Kansas.

“That’s a little bit better than (President Barack) Obama did,” he said. “So if you assume also that Trump is toxic, Clinton hasn’t closed the deal with Millennials yet, she probably has some room to grow. I think Clinton will do better than the average Democratic candidate. I don’t think she’ll win Kansas, but I think she’ll probably get a few percent better than Obama.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters as she arrives to speak during a presidential primary election night rally, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters as she arrives to speak during a presidential primary election night rally, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The undecided

One of the keys to the race in Kansas will be which candidate can win over the 21 percent of voters who are still undecided, and that includes a large number from both Democrats and Republicans, but especially independents.

Zogby said his poll showed 12 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans are still undecided about the race. But among independent and unaffiliated voters who make up 30 percent of all registered voters in Kansas, 31 percent remain undecided.

And among 18- to 34-year-olds, the so-called “Millennial” generation voters who went overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 and 2012, Clinton leads 44-29 percent in Kansas, with 27 percent still undecided.

“I’m going to extrapolate here and suggest that she hasn’t closed the deal,” Zogby said. “That’s probably the 12 percent undecided Democrats right there.”

Miller said it could also be a reflection that both Clinton and Trump have not yet won over a big part of their own parties, which voted overwhelmingly for Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Ted Cruz in the March 5 Kansas caucuses.

“Trump, you look at this and it’s like, this is vastly underperforming,” he said. “Maybe that’s not closing the deal with the evangelical base. Maybe that’s the low support from independents who might normally vote Republican. So I think that’s kind of one way of interpreting it. Clinton does a little bit better than Obama, given the context, but Trump in Kansas really has a whole lot of solidifying of his base to do.”

The survey sample did include a larger proportion of college-educated voters (50 percent) than the adult population as a whole (31 percent), and that is a key demographic group with which Trump routinely polls poorly.

But Miller said the sample is actually a close reflection of the population that actually turns out to vote in Kansas.

Other findings in the election survey seem to match what has been found in other national polls: Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) said they are dissatisfied with the choice of nominees; and nearly a fourth of those polled (24 percent) said the main reason they are voting is because they strongly oppose the other candidate.

That was more true among Republicans (22 percent) than Democrats (12 percent), while 27 percent of independents and other-party voters said their choice was based on opposition to the other candidate.

Zogby said that is consistent with what polls in other states and nationwide surveys have shown.

“What makes this all really so fascinating is that you have two of the best known figures in the country, and two of the least-liked figures in public life, who are now presumptive nominees for their party,” he said.

The Kansas House of Representatives meets during the final day of this legislative session Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at the Statehouse in Topeka.

The Kansas House of Representatives meets during the final day of this legislative session Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at the Statehouse in Topeka. by Mike Yoder

State political issues

The poll also showed 71 percent of those surveyed have a generally unfavorable opinion about the performance of Kansas government and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) don’t believe it’s doing a good job spending or saving taxpayers’ money.

Another 60 percent don’t believe the state is spending enough to ensure a quality education for Kansas children, and just over half, 56 percent, say it’s not doing enough to provide a safety net for poor and low-income residents.

Those findings come just two weeks before Kansas lawmakers are scheduled to return for a special session to respond to a state Supreme Court ruling on school finance equity. Earlier polls by the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University have also found broad dissatisfaction with the Kansas Legislature and the level of funding it provides to public schools.

Zogby said he wasn’t familiar enough with local races to offer an opinion about what that means for upcoming legislative races, “but it does suggest to me that there’s a nasty mood and that it’s not great, all things being equal, to be an incumbent.”

Miller, on the other hand, said the 2016 races so far display all the elements needed for a “wave” election, the kind that produces a wholesale shift in partisan or philosophical control of the Legislature. But he said it’s still too early to tell if that will happen.

“Do you have the right context for that,” he said. “Absolutely. (Gov. Sam) Brownback is unpopular, Trump is unpopular. Granted, Clinton is unpopular too, but Trump’s unpopularity changes that dynamic a little bit.”

“You have (Gov. Sam) Brownback unpopular, Trump unpopular and very negative assessments of Kansas government, so that creates the right atmosphere,” he said. “You have a fair number of seemingly good quality candidates. So I think really what that comes down to is going to be race-by-race: can these challengers stay on message, with the right message to appeal to voters, which is basically being anti-Brownback.”

Read more of the poll results here.


Joe Blackford II 1 year, 10 months ago

There's something about that title . . . . . tongue in cheek?

Bob Hiller 1 year, 10 months ago

Joe, let's hope you or Peter Hancock are not calling Hillary Clinton a "broad" : )

Joe Blackford II 1 year, 10 months ago

Wasn't me, but had me wondering IF a certain party was now enforcing the use of certain gender-related terms by journalists of the mainstream media in KS.


Barb Gordon 1 year, 10 months ago

There's no way that holds until November, but damn. Kansas is pissed.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 10 months ago

WHAT?????? Kansas wants HILLLARY?? This is earth shattering news. But I have confidence that the Republican party loyalty will kick in and Brownback or his "conservative" successor will eventually prevail. As for Trump, most Republican voters are simply brain dead, party loyalty is all encompassing over any sane and reasonable candidate, even Donald Trump will take the day in Kansas. This is how we got Brownback.

Steve Jacob 1 year, 10 months ago

The Dems have to get a credible candidate to face Sen. Moran. He's beatable this year.

Trump has problems here to the west coast. Cruz beat him all over the area, Arizona could easily flip, Mitt could hurt him in Utah is he wanted, he could not even get 70% in South Dakota, a state Clinton won twice.

But I still see Trump winning Kansas, but by single digits, which is close by Kansas standards.

Bob Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

The Democrats have a lousy record in Kansas for picking electable candidates the last few years. That's how we got the current governor.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

That's partially true, Bob, but this story is about the Presidential candidates. And it bodes badly for the Regressive sect that such a plurality is willing to say they'd actually vote for Hillary. Perhaps all the marbles are not in the Regressive sack this time around. Perhaps Kansas voters have come to realize that being lied to and left out of the political machinations of the Regressives has led to Kansas being in the fix it's in now.

Kristine Matlock 1 year, 10 months ago

The only way she would win KS is if so many republicans are so fed up that they wouldn't go to the polls. That won't happen. Republicans will find some super scary thing like gay rights, abortion, etc.... to get those good, Christian voters to show up out of fear that the crazy liberals are coming to kill their babies and to force them to be gay, all while taking their guns away.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

If Clinton takes the office of President everyone who votes Clinton better sleep with one eye open the next 4 years.

She is very good friends with Koch money, the Fracking industry,medical insurance industry,wall street banks,wall street,the war machine, does not necessarily support social security or medicare because Wall Street wants those items in their casino's.

There is not been any talk from Hillary about saving America from any further scams by the nations lending industry.

Voting for Clinton then not looking back will prove to be a huge disappointment.

Hillary and Bill Clinton are not democrats. They are tied to Koch dollars by way of the Democratic Leadership Council which is tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council agenda and platform. Koch funded the Democratic Leadership Council.


How the Koch brothers helped dismantle the Democratic Party https://samsmitharchives.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/6467/

Social Responsibility IS NOT Socialism http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/5/8/729356/-

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

Again, Richard, just what is the practical alternative to Hillary? I know you loathe anyone not Bernie, but, in the end, will you divide the vote by voting third party, or will you swallow your angst and choose the lesser of the two "evils"?

And, too, being friends with those groups you mention might not be the worst thing that could happen. I mean, having a working relationship with the other camp might make a bit of compromise in one direction a good thing. After all, neither party has the complete solution, and the Clinton presidency would definitely not be the extremes in race, religion, and economics fostered by the Regressives.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 10 months ago

The primaries are over. You can tone down the Berniebro now.

Chuck Holder 1 year, 10 months ago

Well seeing how the republicans have all but destroyed the economy in Kansas can you blame them for wanting some kind of change?

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

Absolutely, no, Chuck. But Kansas voters have a way of becoming blind to reality, as per the last two elections. Just don't give up campaigning to your friends and neighbors. We have to take this state back, and can, if we simply open people's eyes.

Becca McMaster 1 year, 10 months ago

If voters want change in Kansas, voters need to vote early and use a paper ballot. With Kobach running our elections (and his lackey running the national agency that certifies voting machine software), it will be a waste of time to vote if it isn't on a paper ballot. Polling places typically run out of paper ballots early so voting early at the election office.

If Kansans continue to vote electronically (most machines do not provide a paper trail), then expect to have the election results that Kobach wants (as was the result in the last election).

Robert Hook 1 year, 10 months ago

You are just telling tall tails now. There is no way Clinton is leading any poll in Kansas. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would even admit to supporting her for president. This is just wishful thinking from a liberal press. Why are you writers like that? Are you getting paid? Just drive down the street. You're not going to find Hillary posters. In fact - a good story for this years is the complete absence of presidential campaign signage. Not so much as even a bumper sticker. Meh! That is what you will hear when you talk to anyone. People have pretty much given up. That is the real story.

Guy Palmer 1 year, 10 months ago

The thing about republicanism is that - at it's core its essentially an anarchist form of government. The republican anti-government ethos, the ideal of making government so small they could " drown it in a bathtub", the rabid-anti tax cutting to the point of creating massive deficits means ultimately the republican party - unlike the Days of Richard Nixon, are incapable of governing. Governor Brownback is irrefutable evidence of this with the train wreck he and his republican idea -logues have created with the Kansas economy and state government. They've heald fast to their ideology in the face withering indications that their sacred ideology is categorically bankrupt in every aspect. Donald Trump is no difference. He does nothing but pander and rebel at every turn. This is the essence of the teabagging section of the republican party. Rebellion without any interest in governing. Hopefully the balance of the American Electorate is more interested in governing rather than creating an a massive bonfire.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 10 months ago

This may hold true now (and it holds huge implications for the down ticket races) but I double D guarantee you Kris Kobach will figure out a way to sweep it out from under people. My recommendation: demand a paper ballot and take a picture of your ballot before you leave the voting booth.,

Jonathan Becker 1 year, 10 months ago

Zogby is not a very reliable poll. He tends to miss cell phones and phone polls tends to be automated. There are rumors he has cleaned up his act, but whether his act was cleaned up to keep his costs down or to make his method reliable is a coin toss.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 10 months ago

News Flash.......it will not be reported here in this Republican Rag

The Koch Industries Regime is NOT SUPPORTHING the Republican National Convention's planned circus for Donald Trump. No money for the fool's choice from the Kochs!!!!!!!

You know, I am gonna have to soften my blather about these guys, anyone who opposes Trump can't be all bad.............can they??

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

Bob, I wish such cronyism did not exist. I really do. But while you're condemning her for this issue, why not recall such issues as the Federal Election commissioner debacle brought to you by the Regressive is Kansas; the moving into and out of office of various state department heads based solely on political "trustworthiness" by the Brownkoch administration; the Regressive "purges" of state legislators in the last election. This issue will not go away as it is ingrained in the political mind. But I think you have little room to throw stones at the Democrats as one of those might just miss its mark and land smack on the nose of one of your own.

Steve Jacob 1 year, 10 months ago

I love what Mark Cuban said, Trump is going to have to raise about half a billion from donors, and wait until those secret videos of those meetings hit the news.

Mike Riner 1 year, 10 months ago

I would like to know how we got to this point. Both candidates (R) and (D) are crap. Both are liars. Both will cheat and steal (have). Why are these the only choices? Why can't we do better than these two? I know people are pissed, and that's supposedly why Trump won all those primaries. People on the right don't want the same old thing-hence Trump. It gets old having to pick the lesser of two evils every time! And yes (in my opinion) both of these choices are evil.

John Sickels 1 year, 10 months ago

The election boils down to this: do you trust an unstable and ignorant person like Donald Trump with nuclear weapons?

Bob Smith 1 year, 10 months ago

The alternative seems to be someone who took money from foreign nations to influence decisions of our government.

David Holroyd 1 year, 10 months ago

If making Lawrence great again, then Trump has the vote. Heard he is interested in not only building a "WALL" but wants to help Richard Heckler make Lawrence a walkable city and as part of a federal highway program will put walks throughout Brookcreek Neighborhood wide enough for riding lawn mowers!

How can you not like a guy like that!

Richard, I got some extra Trump bumper stickers...I will mail you one..on second thought I will see if Cheryl would like it..I will talk with Dennis.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

The media let us down by focusing so much on Trump garbage talk that they failed to look solidly into the back ground of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Oh yeah Trump comes off as quite terrible BUT should the media have failed to effectively take a hard look at the Clinton background? The media let us down. None of the GOP candidates had especially impressive backgrounds.

This whole issue of not voting for Clinton in the primaries will cause Hillary to lose BECAUSE some campaigns began convincing voters that Bernie Sanders cannot win. What nonsense! How many more voting cycles is this lousy position going to be thrown at the voters by big money campaigns?

Did Gore truly lose the election because voters wanting Nader instead instead of status quo voted for Nader? OR did Gore lose because of corrupt electronic voting machines that just happen to be owned by very conservative big money people that were donating to GW Bush?

Where is this conversation? What has been done to protect votes from corrupt electronic voting devices. There has been a load of fraud.

Bernie Sanders is a credible person for the office of President. Bernie has plenty of experience under his belt. He is not asleep at the wheel.

What will be said IF I come out for Hillary and Hillary loses? What then? We are all entitled to our dissenting opinions and the right to vote our conscience.

Fear to vote our conscience should never be part of the landscape.

BTW low yield nuke weapons are making our soldiers very sick and will continue to make the families that live on and around the soil and water very sick for maybe another 1000 years. Yes these nuke weapons have been on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. The USA soldiers will never get well.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

"What will be said IF I come out for Hillary and Hillary loses? What then? We are all entitled to our dissenting opinions and the right to vote our conscience."

I don't know about others' thoughts, Richard, but I believe that those who I know will applaud your stand, and your conscience. That one candidate will always win is how the system works. It does not guarantee that the candidate we, in particular, want. That is the beauty of our republic and its political system.

Fight the good fight, Richard, but don't be one who simply gives up when the "wrong" candidate is selected. We all have to fight the Regressive machine, in any way we can, and voting for the eventual Democratic candidate is the final bastion of that fight.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

"Again, Richard, just what is the practical alternative to Hillary?"

Not worshipping big names in the political world.

Why do we americans vote in the rich which are supported by the rich to make decisions for the entire upper middle class, middle class and low income? Hey middle class republicans you too are getting duped make no mistake about it.

Wealthy Incumbents, famous political names say NO to the 99%, live in glass houses and digest corrupt money.

Where is this conversation?

There is always so much focus on the Presidential campaigns that we voters fail to clean out the house and senate which is where the problems are.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

According to new poll Clinton has two big Clinton problems:

---- The State Department's inspector general released a report on Clinton's use of a private email account last Wednesday, saying she "did not comply" with department policies.

The report cited "longstanding, systemic weaknesses" related to communications that preceded Clinton's appointment as secretary of state. But the inspector general's report singled out Clinton's failures as more serious.

"At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," the report said.

---- Voters who responded to the Morning Consult poll also said Clinton should release the transcripts of her paid speeches to Wall Street firms. It's an issue on which Bernie Sanders, the insurgent senator from Vermont still challenging Clinton for the Democratic nomination, has targeted Clinton along the campaign trail.

Of the poll's respondents, 64% said Clinton should release the transcripts, including 47% of Democrats. Just 19% said she should not release the transcripts.

---- A majority of respondents also said Sanders, who is facing near-impossible odds to become the Democratic nominee, should stay in the race.


Shane Cheung 1 year, 10 months ago

First off, this is only a poll and a early one at that. Everyone knows polls are just numbers cooked up, that is a small reflection of anger or anxiety at the moment. People in Kansas are mad with both the Governor for his tax cut experiment and the legislature for going along with him. These tax cuts have led to major pain to the every day Kansan who have seen their way of life messed with by the governor. Tax cuts should have never taken place unless the state had operated consistently on revenue surpluses. Have you seen Brownback and the legislature enact policies that lead to growth and surpluses? By cutting taxes while operating on deficits only leads to more pain and cutbacks. Hillary is only leading now due to the anger by the people directed at Republicans who control the state.

Cathy Bitikofer 1 year, 10 months ago

A straw poll of people in our house finds the majority opinion (66% to 33.3333333%) that religious conservatives might just stay home in November. Every religious conservative I've talked to in Manhattan (probably about 5 or 6 ), don't want to vote for either, and feel they won't offend God by not voting for either candidate - a couple more are tepid Trump supporters. I suspect the conservative Catholic population would also be anti-Hillary (and probably still pro-Brownback, since he's a Catholic convert and openly "pro.marriage" It worked well for him - he married into a lot of money!). A lot of the middle age and older "progressives" trend toward Hillary, the college kids are still feeling the Bern, although one commented on probably voting libertarian. Again, these are unofficial polls with a low sampling from the Manhattan area. I find Donald Trump both scary and simplistic, and unwilling to take wisdom from sources other than himself. I'm going to wait until Election eve to determine if my vote is going to make a difference or not in Kansas, and, if not, I think I'll go libertarian, too. I just don't want Trump.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.