Kansas Senate: Incumbent Republican Pat Roberts Might Actually Lose

Senator Pat Roberts

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)

It appears the decision by Democrat Chad Taylor to drop out of the Kansas Senate racecould cost incumbent Republicans Senator Pat Roberts his job.

The first two polls conducted after the announcement had Independent Greg Orman in the lead. A poll last week by SurveyUSA for KSN found Orman with 37 percent of likely voters, Roberts with 36 percent and Taylor still getting 10 percent of the vote since his name is still on the ballot even after he ended his campaign.

Now a new PPP poll given to the Huffington Post shows Orman with a seven point advantage. In their recent survey Orman gets 41 percent, Roberts comes in at just 34 percent, while Taylor still gets 6 percent and  Libertarian Randall Batson has 4 percent.

The poll also indicated that Orman has some untapped potential. It found roughly a third of Taylor supporters don’t realize Taylor had dropped out, and that Taylor’s supporters prefer Orman to Roberts.

Accurately polling this race is going to be difficult because each pollster is probably going to have their own solution for dealing with the fact that there is a major party candidate on the ballot but not actually running. It is likely the vast majority of voters but not all will get the news by election day so how the question is framed may not perfectly capture the reality.

A loss for Roberts, though, is not automatically a win for Democrats. Orman says he will caucus with whatever party is in the majority, but if the Senate is evenly split Orman could play the role of king maker. It is believed in that event Orman would lean towards the Democratic party since he previous ran for office as Democratic and if he values being in the majority that is the better move since Democrats are favored to win seats in 2016.

Photo by US Department of Agriculture

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at