Poll: Kansas governor’s race still a dead heat

photo by: Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP, File

This combination of file photos shows Kansas gubernatorial candidates, from left: Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach; Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly; and Independent candidate, businessmen Greg Orman, who are running in the November 2018 election.

TOPEKA – A new poll released by Kansas Democrats on Thursday shows the race for Kansas governor is still a dead heat between Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Laura Kelly, with independent candidate Greg Orman showing a distant third.

The survey, conducted Sept. 12-13, asked Kansas voters whom they would vote for if the election were held today. Of the 616 who responded, 39 percent said they would vote for Kobach; 38 percent said they would vote for Kelly; and 9 percent said they would vote for Orman.

Another independent candidate, Richard Kloos, came in at 2 percent, followed by Libertarian candidate Jeff Caldwell at 1 percent.

The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling, a national firm that works exclusively with Democratic candidates. Based on the sample size, the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

The numbers are virtually identical to a similar poll conducted by the same firm that was released Aug. 30, indicating the race has not changed measurably in the last two weeks.

The first PPP survey was sponsored by the Kansas National Education Association. The one released Thursday was paid for by a county-level Democratic Party committee.

The survey also indicated that if Orman, Kloos and Caldwell were not in the race, it would still be a dead heat, with Kobach leading 47-46 over Kelly in that hypothetical two-person race.

Jim Williams, of PPP, said in an email to the sponsors of the poll that although Orman tends to draw more heavily from those who would otherwise vote for Kelly, Kloos and Caldwell draw more heavily from those who would otherwise support Kobach.

The results mean that all of the campaigns will likely spend the next several weeks focusing on the 12 percent of voters who remain undecided.

Of those, the survey indicated, about half are people who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, while only a small number said they voted for Hillary Clinton.

The survey also indicates that Kobach suffers from low favorability ratings, with 36 percent rating him favorably and 47 percent unfavorably. Only 17 percent of those surveyed said they have no opinion of him.

Kelly, meanwhile, had a nearly identical favorability rating, at 35 percent, with only 20 percent rating her unfavorably, leaving 45 percent who said they have no opinion about her.

Kelly, however, appeared to have more cross-party appeal. Of those who said they voted for Trump in 2016, 20 percent said they have a favorable view of Kelly. Kobach was rated favorably by only 4 percent of Clinton supporters.


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