Poll: Orman leads, with or without Taylor on the ballot

A new poll out today shows Republican Sen. Pat Roberts trailing in his bid for a fourth term, with or without Democrat Chad Taylor’s name on the ballot.

The survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm based in North Carolina, shows that in a head-to-head contest, independent candidate Greg Orman leads Roberts by 10 points, 46-36 percent, with 17 percent undecided.

But even if Taylor’s name is included, Orman still leads the race by seven points, 41-34 percent, with Taylor getting 6 percent and Libertarian candidate Randall Batson polling at 4 percent.

The poll was released the same day the Kansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Taylor withdrawal case. Taylor filed a notice Sept. 3 with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach seeking to remove his name from the ballot, but Kobach has refused to do so, arguing that Taylor’s letter did not meet the requirements of state law.

Many analysts have suggested that Taylor’s withdrawal would benefit Orman’s chances of unseating Roberts.

The survey of 1,328 likely voters was conducted over the past weekend and reported a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

PPP did not tell respondents that Taylor is attempting to withdraw before asking the questions about the Senate race. But in subsequent questions in which they were informed, 63 percent said they believe Taylor should be removed from the ballot while 21 percent said he should not.

The only other recent public poll in the race, conducted by SurveyUSA in early September, showed Orman and Roberts virtually tied, 37-36 percent.

PPP is a private polling firm that works exclusively for Democratic candidates. However, its public polls are not conducted on behalf of any candidate and serve essentially as a marketing tool to promote the company and demonstrate the accuracy of its methodology.

An analysis by former New York Times columnist Nate Silver found that during the 2012 presidential campaign, PPP put 71 polls in the field and, when compared with actual election results, had a standard error of 2.7 percentage points, with a 1.6 point bias in favor of Republicans.

SurveyUSA rated slightly better. Out of 17 polls, it had a standard error of 2.2 percentage points, with a 0.5 point bias in favor of Republicans.

Other results from the latest PPP survey:

• In the governor’s race, Democrat Paul Davis leads Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, 42-38 percent. That’s narrower than the last SurveyUSA poll, which had Davis up 47-40 percent.

• For secretary of state, incumbent Republican Kris Kobach is running at 43 percent, making him virtually tied with Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf at 42 percent. Forty-four percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way Kobach has handled the Chad Taylor withdrawal case.

• For attorney general, Republican Derek Schmidt appears to be coasting to re-election as he leads Democratic challenger A.J. Kotich, 50-27 percent.