TOPEKA — Up to a quarter of Kansas voters don’t know who they’ll choose for governor in November’s election, based on responses to a new poll.
The numbers range from 17 percent to 24 percent undecided depending on which candidates win the Republican and Democratic primaries next month.
If Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer faces Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman in the general election, 24 percent of likely voters are undecided about who they will support, according to responses to a poll conducted by Remington Research Group, a GOP polling firm based in Kansas City.
In a matchup between Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Kelly and Orman, 17 percent of respondents are undecided.
The poll shows Kelly competitive with Kobach and potentially cosmpetitive against Colyer if she can attract undecided voters. According to the poll, Orman’s support doesn’t change significantly depending on the Republican nominee.
In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat -- 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly’s lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.
Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.
Remington conducted the poll July 19-20, surveying 1,189 likely general election voters. The margin of error is 2.85 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. In the poll, 80 percent of respondents were on landline phones, and 20 percent used cell phones.
Remington is owned by Axiom Strategies. Travis Smith, a senior vice president of Axiom, has consulted for Colyer’s campaign but has said that work is separate from Remington. He said the campaign didn’t pay for the poll.
The poll numbers “confirm that nominating Kris Kobach is the best way to elect a Democrat like Laura Kelly,” said Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr.
In a statement, Kobach said the poll doesn’t give him any concern. He said several of his signature issues, like limiting property tax increases and fighting illegal immigration, appeal to most voters.
“I am very confident I can win the general election,” Kobach said.
Kobach spokeswoman Danedri Herbert said the campaign’s most recent tracking poll, from July 20, shows Kobach with 37 percent support in the primary race, with Colyer at 26 percent. The poll was of 700 people with a margin of error of 3.7 percent.
Orman spokesman Sam Edelen called a general election poll in July before the Aug. 7 primary election “about as useful as a fork in a sugar bowl.”
“We’ve seen a number of these push polls circulating in recent weeks, and they’re just not credible,” Edelen said.
Kelly spokeswoman Johanna Warshaw said the survey “confirms Kansans want to go in a new direction” and that Kelly is the “face of that change.”
The poll doesn’t include the other two major Democratic candidates -- Josh Svaty and Carl Brewer -- or other major Republican candidates -- Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer and former state senator Jim Barnett.
Svaty spokesman Mike Swenson said the fact that the poll didn’t include Svaty shows the Colyer campaign wants to run against Kelly “because they know she cannot win in November, regardless of who the Republican nominee is.” Kelly spokeswoman Warshaw said the poll “makes it very clear” that Kelly can and will win in November.
The poll also doesn’t include a scenario without Orman, who must submit 5,000 signatures by Aug. 6 to secure a spot on the general election ballot. Edelen said Monday that the campaign had already collected the needed 5,000 signatures.
Asked to choose between voting for a Republican, a Democrat or an independent, 47 percent said they would vote for a Republican, 35 percent for a Democrat, 8 percent for an independent. Ten percent were undecided.
Colyer and Kobach have sought to align themselves with President Donald Trump this summer, and the poll indicates that general election voters have a higher opinion of Trump than of both Colyer and Kobach. Forty-four percent of poll respondents have a favorable opinion of Trump while 47 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Just nine percent have no opinion.
The poll says that 31 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of Colyer, while 30 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Thirty-nine percent have no opinion.
For Kobach, 28 percent have a favorable opinion. More than half -- 55 percent -- have an unfavorable opinion, however. Seventeen percent have no opinion.
And for Kelly, 23 percent have a favorable opinion. Seventeen percent have an unfavorable opinion and 60 percent have no opinion.