Exit polls showed that Kansas voters by and large were out of the step with the national electorate during the presidential election, except in one area — independent voters.
Here is an analysis of the election by Bob Beatty, a political science professor at Washburn University.
"Since 1968 Kansas has gone for the Republican nominee for President, and 2012 was no different. By a wide 22 point margin (60%-38%), Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama in the Sunflower state, an increase of eight points over John McCain’s vote share in 2008. Nationally, Obama defeated Romney by 2.8% (50.6%-47.8%). Beyond the election results, presidential election years also offer an opportunity – by using exit poll data – to analyze any similarities and differences between group preferences in Kansas versus national group preferences. On whole, 2012 produced more differences than similarities.
"First, on election day, 48% of Kansas voters identified themselves as Republicans, the second highest percentage of Republicans voting (as a % of state voters) in any state except for Wyoming. 27% identified as Democrats and 24% as members of no party. Nationally, the numbers were 38% Democrat, 32% Republican, and 29% independent. One similarity is that nationally independent voters went for Romney 50% – 45% and in Kansas they went for Romney 51% - 43%.
"Looking at the numbers in terms of race, nationally, white voters made up 72% of all voters, and they went for Romney by 20 points (59%-39%), while in Kansas they were 87% of all voters and went for Romney by 31 points (64%-33%). White men went for Romney by 27 points nationally (62%-35%), but in Kansas 74% of all white men voted for Romney, giving him a 50 point advantage over Obama (74%-24%).
"One of the reasons that Obama was able to win a second term was the support he received from women, winning that group of voters nationally by 11 points, 55%-44%. In Kansas, however, Romney won the female vote by 4 points, 51%-47%, and won the male vote by a whopping 40 points, 69%-29%. Nationally Romney won men by much less, 7 points, 52%-45%. An interesting subset of the female vote that has received a lot of attention is unmarried women. In this category Kansas lies a bit closer to the national numbers, with Obama winning by a 19 point advantage in Kansas, 58%-39%. Nationally, he won unmarried women by 36 points, 67%-31%. Romney won married men by 22 points nationwide but by 46 points in Kansas.
"One very large divergence between Kansas and the nation in terms of the Obama vote lies in the different age categories. Across ages Romney significantly outperformed Obama in Kansas compared to the President’s national numbers. Among younger voters, aged 18-29, Romney won by 17 points, 54%-41%, while nationally Obama won those voters by a 23 point margin, 60%-37%; Among voters aged 30-44, in Kansas Romney won by 20 points (59%-39%) while nationally Obama won by 7 points (52%-45%); Among voters aged 45-64, in Kansas Romney won by a massive 27 points, while nationally he won that group by a much smaller 4 points; Among voters aged 65 and older, Romney won in Kansas by 22 points and won nationally by 12 points.
"Finally, in what should not be a big surprise given the actual results, the Kansas exit polls showed that the majority of voters here did not think too kindly of the president, while nationally, the opposite is true. In Kansas 60% of voters had an unfavorable opinion of President Obama while 39% had a favorable opinion, a 21 point negative margin. Nationally, 53% of voters thought of the president favorably while 46% thought of him unfavorably, a 7 point positive margin."
About 75 people on Friday gathered outside the Statehouse, calling for Gov. Sam Brownback to support an expansion of Medicaid, the state and federally funded program that covers the cost of health care services for nearly 400,000 Kansans, mostly children, pregnant women and those with disabilities.
Rev. Joshua Longbottom, of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, was one of several speakers at the rally. He said Jesus would have supported the expansion.
"If Jesus was up in the Capitol, would he make a choice to keep 130,000 people without care," Longbottom asked. The crowd responded "No."
Under the Affordable Care Act, the state has the option to extend Medicaid coverage to include all children and adults under the age of 65 who live at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that is an annual income of $30,657 or less. Extending the Medicaid program in 2014 could help provide access to as many as 130,000 more Kansans, according to the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition.
The federal government would cover of the cost of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years and most of the cost after that.
Republicans and some Democrats have expressed concerns that because of federal budget problems, the federal government may not be able to carry through with its funding commitment.
And Brownback has been an ardent opponent of the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday he announced he would block an effort by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger for a state-federal partnership in starting a health insurance exchange under the ACA. That means the federal government will have to do it.
Douglas County has sometimes been called an island of blue in a sea or red in Kansas, meaning it votes Democratic while most of the rest of the state votes Republican.
But the blue dot becomes even more noticeable in the Midwest when looking at a national map of county results. There is blue Douglas and Wyandotte, which went for President Barack Obama.
And then there is a sea of red — counties where Republican Mitt Romney secured a majority of votes — that includes all of Oklahoma, all of Nebraska, except for one county, and all of Missouri, except for three counties. Farther south, Texas is mostly red until Dallas County and Travis County and then a belt of blue in South Texas.
Here is a link to the New York Times presidential election map by counties. link text
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is vying for the chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to get more Republicans elected to the Senate.
Roll Call reported Thursday: "Moran’s boosters said his tea party appeal will help block primary challenges for potentially vulnerable Members such as Sens. Pat Roberts (Kan.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.)."
Some interesting dissection of the presidential race has focused on Mitt Romney's failure to attract Hispanic voters, and that string leads to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
According to this article in The New Republic, after Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into Republican Party presidential contest, Romney attacked him on the right as being soft on illegal immigration.
In January, during the Republican Party primaries, Kobach, known nationally for pushing tough anti-illegal immigration legislation, endorsed Romney and Romney praised Kobach.
"I'm so proud to earn Kris's support. Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country. We need more conservative leaders like Kris willing to stand up for the rule of law," Romney said.
Romney even started using the same term Kobach used to describe how the Kobach-written laws were making people "self-deport."
But after winning the GOP nomination, Romney said in an interview with Univision America Radio that he had never met Kobach and his campaign described Kobach as an "informal adviser." Later, the Romney campaign said Romney and Kobach had met but not in formal policy meetings.