Gov. Kelly narrowly polls ahead of AG Schmidt in gubernatorial race

The poll also indicated Kelly led among independent voters as well with 46% favoring her while 30% favored Schmidt.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 9:10 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly is narrowly polling ahead of gubernatorial challenger Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

The Hill reports that a recent survey it conducted with Emerson College Polling found that Kansas Governor Laura Kelly narrowly leads Attorney General Derek Schmidt in the state gubernatorial race. The survey was released on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

The newspaper reports that Kelly leads Schmidt 45% to 43% among those likely to vote in Kansas, falling within the survey’s 3-point margin of error. Another 8% reported they were undecided while another 3% said they planned to vote for Independent candidate Dennis Pyle.

The poll also indicated Kelly led among independent voters as well with 46% favoring her while 30% favored Schmidt.

However, the poll noted that Kelly is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democratic governors up for election this term. The nonpartisan publication Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”

Kelly was first elected as the state’s Democratic governor in 2018 after she defeated Kris Kobach. Republicans have argued that that victory was largely due to Kobach’s weak candidacy while Dems have pointed to her high approval ratings.

The poll also found that 53% of voters said they viewed Kelly favorably while 37% said they do not. Meanwhile, 45% of voters said they view Schmidt favorably while another 37% said they do not.

The Hill reported that Dems have also expressed optimism after Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected an anti-abortion initiative in August 2022. The poll found that 48% of voters said their views on abortion aligned with Kelly’s while 44% said the same for Schmidt.

However, Democrats in Kansas still face an uphill battle with President Joe Biden’s approval rating sitting at a meager 36% in the traditionally red state while his disapproval rating sits at 58%. Republicans have led in other down-ballot races as well - the poll found incumbent Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) leads his Democratic challenger Mark Holland 45% to 33% while Kobach leads Democratic challenger Chris Mann 41% to 39%.

The Hill noted that the Emerson College - The Hill poll was conducted between Sept. 15 and 18 among 1,000 likely voters. It said the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.