Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bush unpopular in even Kansas

President George Bush came to Kansas this week among other things to appear a a fundraiser for Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. Notably, this was a fundraiser in a private home, not in any sort of public forum. It raised a fair, but not outstanding, amount.

Survey USA's latest poll on Bush's popularity in Kansas shows

38 % approval
56% disaproval

Compare that to the rating for Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius

65 % approval
31 % disapproval


By the conventional wisdom, Roberts should be a shoe-in, but I've been making the case that he is far more vulnerable. The three biggest things Roberts has going for him is that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is unlikely to enter the race and the lure of an open seat in 2010 when Sam Brownback says he won't run for re-election. And, the perception that Kansas can't elect a Democrat to the Senate.

I don't think there is any real chance that Sebelius will make a run in 2008, but that doesn't mean that someone else can't make a race of it. It might be easier to capture an open seat in 2010, but there's always a chance that Brownback will get a message from God and change his mind. To be a little more serious, there is a good chance that 2008 will be a strongly anti-GOP year, while 2010 the terms of debate framed by the popularity of a new Democratic President who is pushing through an agenda which would mobilize traditional GOP voters.

Now for the third reason. Is there a potential for a Democrat to win a statewide race.

The same SURVEY USA poll has a break down of party identification in Kansas.

Republicans 43
Democrats 33

That's a lot closer than the official registration figures are about 46% Republican, 28 % Democratic and 26 % independent.

National polls which ask independents which way they lean are producing a big margin in overall identification for Democrats. If this Democratic trend holds true for Kansas the party identification might be pretty damn close. In fact, a Gallup poll earlier this year did a state by state breakdown and showed a slight Democratic advantage in Kansas when leaners were included.

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