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New poll shows how far Colyer is behind Kobach in one key area


Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer has scheduled a news conference Monday to announce proposed budget enhancements for the Department for Children and Families.

That's unusual for two reasons: First, because it is rare for anyone other than the governor's office to announce budget proposals before the governor himself does so, and Gov. Sam Brownback isn't expected to announce details of his budget plan until Wednesday.

It's also unusual for Colyer who, even though he is running for governor, has had to keep a low profile on policy issues while waiting for Brownback to be confirmed for a diplomatic post in the Trump administration.

But a newly released "Kansas Speaks" poll from the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University may shed some light on why it's important now for Colyer to come out from under Brownback's shadow.

In this March 9, 2017, file photo, Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, left, and Gov. Sam Brownback participate in a humanitarian award ceremony at the statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (Thad Allton/Topeka Capital-Journal via AP, File)

In this March 9, 2017, file photo, Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, left, and Gov. Sam Brownback participate in a humanitarian award ceremony at the statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (Thad Allton/Topeka Capital-Journal via AP, File)

The survey asked 434 Kansas adults whether they had ever heard of various Kansas politicians. Only 38 percent of them said "yes" when asked about the lieutenant governor. That compares to 86 percent who recognized the name of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the politician with the highest name recognition, due in part, no doubt, to the fact that he appears regularly in national conservative news media.

The survey also showed only 29 percent of respondents were at least “somewhat confident” with Jeff Colyer taking over as Kansas governor.

But the news wasn't all bad for Colyer, nor was it all good for Kobach. Although Kobach may have the highest name recognition, it evidently isn't for positive reasons. Only 30 percent of those surveyed said they had a somewhat or highly positive opinion about his job performance, while a whopping 47 percent had a negative opinion of him, including 37 percent calling their opinion of him "highly negative."

Colyer fared a little better, with 34 percent saying they had a positive opinion of him, and only 23 percent with a negative opinion. But that left 48 percent of respondents with no particular opinion about him one way or another — not a big motivator for people to vote for him or write checks to his campaign.

The highest rated politicians in the poll were the three leading Democratic candidates running for governor at the time the poll was taken in the fall of 2017. Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer had the highest positive rating, at 46 percent. He was followed by former Rep. Josh Svaty of Ellsworth, at 44 percent, and current House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita, at 40 percent.

The survey did not ask about Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, because she didn't get into the race until mid-December.

Colyer had been planning to come out of the shadows much earlier, pending Brownback's confirmation to a diplomatic post in the Trump administration. But that has been stalled in the U.S. Senate, and now Brownback, not Colyer, will deliver the high-profile State of the State address next week.

Brownback will be leaving office amid historically low approval ratings, with 70 percent of those polled expressing some level of dissatisfaction, and 62 percent approving of him resigning to take a job in the Trump administration. Obviously aware of that, other GOP candidates in the governor's race have started routinely linking their names in public statements, referencing the "Brownback-Colyer administration" and "Brownback-Colyer tax policies."

Monday's news conference about proposed budget enhancements for DCF could help Colyer turn things around.

Problems at DCF, and particularly the state foster care system that it manages, have been scandalous for the Brownback administration amid news reports about 70-plus foster children who had gone missing, children being forced to spend the night in social workers' offices due to shortages of emergency placement spaces, and children being killed while in the state's custody.

That makes improving the child welfare system a pretty good issue for Colyer to use to start elevating his own profile and separating himself from Brownback.

Amid those reports, even Republican lawmakers started calling for ousting then-DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore, who ended up retiring Dec. 1. Then, in what appeared to be part of a transition process, Colyer was allowed to announce the hiring of a new secretary, Gina Meier-Hummel of Lawrence, who had been director of the Children's Shelter. She is scheduled to join him at the news conference.


Phillip Chappuie 2 weeks ago

Do any of them care to talk about the study that shows a correlation between the limits and reductions imposed on TANF and the huge increase in foster care placements? Do any of them care to discuss the critical failures of safety net programs since the advent of KanCare? The people least able to speak up are denied and the privateers makes money and Brownback thumped his chest and proclaimed what a great thing we have done. Uh, what? Like appoint Phyllis Gilmore as Secretary of DCF? It makes me long for the old SRS Secretaries like Hubbell and Chronister that actually cared about Kansas citizens.

Charlie Buckley 1 week, 6 days ago

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Richard Heckler 2 weeks ago

The GOP has become home to radical right wing extremists who effectively own the party name = RINO's.

The GOP has become home for radical right wing extremists that which do own the party name = RINO's .

RINO's are a threat to the economy,democracy and foreign policy !

Donald Trump is a RINO and has always been a RINO. The Koch Boys are RINOS and have always been RINO’s like their father .

RINO”S through lies and deceptions now own the GOP name which means a tiny minority have taken over Washington DC pretending to represent the majority. What a lie.

Paul Ryan is a RINO.

RINO Republicans Hate Voters. RINOS” are libertarians and fundamentalists These RINO’s hate women more. RINO’s want to steal our retirement funds and lower wages across the board.

--- RINO Republican politicians which are radical extreme are on a 24/7 schedule to suppress your right to vote. Which likely guarantees them election.

--- The Radical RINO Republican Party have this voter suppression tactic down to a science which is to say they know exactly how many suppressed votes are necessary to win. Do NOT under estimate.

--- How many voters have RINO radical republican conservatives purged thus far?

--- Surely we don't believe RINO conservatives have stopped breaking the law.

Voters ORGANIZING A VOTING DAY PACKET might be a preventive measure which could include:

--- a birth certificate

--- a drivers license or state ID card

--- proof of voter registration etc etc etc.

--- --- Military Discharge Papers

--- Keep this packet close to protect your right to vote

Do it today in case it is discovered one or more of the above cannot be found. None of these are difficult to replace. But will take time.

James Osborne 2 weeks ago

Hmm..so much to unpack. Here minus the lecturing and name calling is this.. But first this, while not technically a Kansan, Dad was (b. in Elmo 1896)..moved Osborne County early then Dickinson and Geary Counties later, he and I shot our share of birds from Council to Osborne (and beyond) listened to a lot of basketball and listened to the politics of the day.

Always loved the fact that Kansans across the state are informed and lots are involved, during the '50s/'60s and into the '70s it seemed that everyone we new..was candidate and issue aware. It was accepted to discuss the Dockings and Carlin to talk about opening trade w/ China..and it was widely acknowledged that the Democrats often had as much and sometimes more to offer than did the GOP.

Later, as I grew I travelled the state extensively (and still do), and found that tradition of openly discussing "politics" particularly issues..has to this day continued. Franklin to Great Bend..Chanute to Beloit most Kansans still enjoy the workings of their state government. But.

It seems that the question of who should, sit in Topeka going forward is very much in flux. In case no one has noticed Mr. Trump is dragging his feet w/ the actual appt. of Mr. Brownback. And realistically..well given the "condition" of the national body politic, and Mr. Kobachs unceremonious departure from D.C., well it has muddied (very) the waters and caused a "hitch" in the declared candidacies of many viable folks. Democrats included

Steve King 1 week, 6 days ago

Great choices. KK has been "spanked" by numerous courts who have struck hom down. Coyler has proven his morals by making Brownback bogus three 3 day loans of $500,000 just to pad his books last election. Sad.

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