New poll shows Brownback, Roberts in trouble

Another poll is showing the state’s top two Republican candidates in trouble for the upcoming election.

Public Policy Polling shows Gov. Sam Brownback trailing slightly behind Democrat Paul Davis, 37-39 percent, while U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts is leading in his race, mainly because he faces two opponents who appear to be splitting the anti-incumbent vote.

The survey of 903 likely voters was conducted Aug. 14-17 and reported a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. Eighty percent of the interviews were conducted by phone, and 20 percent were interviewed over the Internet.

PPP is a commercial polling firm that works exclusively for Democratic candidates but is not on contract with any Democratic candidates or committees in Kansas.

The poll shows Roberts with 32 percent, compared to 25 percent for Democrat Chad Taylor and 23 percent for independent candidate Greg Orman.

The numbers in the governor’s race are much closer than those in another recent poll by the independent firm Rasmussen Reports, which showed Davis ahead, 51-41 percent. The Rasmussen poll, however, did not include responses for third-party and independent candidates while the PPP survey did include Orman and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Keene Umbehr.

The PPP survey showed Umbehr is probably helping Brownback more than hurting him. Although he draws only 9 percent of the vote, the lion’s share of that (44 percent) comes from people who say Davis would be their second choice if Umbehr were not on the ballot. Only 39 percent of Umbehr’s supporters would otherwise vote for Brownback.

The polls suggest Brownback and Roberts are suffering from low approval ratings

The latest PPP survey showed only 34 percent of likely voters approve of the job Brownback is doing as governor. That’s only one point higher that President Barack Obama’s approval rating in Kansas. The Rasmussen poll showed Brownback with a 17 percent personal favorability rating, which is different from a job approval rating.

For Roberts, the PPP survey showed Roberts with a 27 percent job approval rating. It also shows the residency issue is dogging the senator, with 61 percent saying they don’t think he spends enough time in Kansas, and half saying they think he considers Washington, D.C., his home.

It also shows that if one of the other two major candidates were to drop out, the race would be much closer. In a head-to-head contest between Roberts and Taylor, Roberts’ lead is trimmed to 43-39 percent. But in a head-to-head contest with Orman, Roberts trails, 33-43 percent.