By MIKE CORN
Tuesday's election will be studied -- likely lamented by Democrats, as well -- for years to come.
That's because the pollsters didn't know what they were talking about, and they're going to want to figure out why.
Polls were wrong in Kansas, as well as across the nation.
In the meantime, Chapman Rackaway has a couple ideas, although they're still somewhat cloudy based on a lack of detail and sleep deprivation.
Rackaway, a professor of political science at Fort Hays State University, had promised one certainty prior to the election -- that of a long night. And he was right on target. That's why he didn't make it back to Hays from Topeka, where he was providing insight into the returns, until 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Rackaway had hedged his bets on the ultimate results of Tuesday's election based on voter turnout and even the weather.
He's now thinking the results might stem from a more mature database of Republican voters.
He can point to voter turnout in years prior to 2012 and show how that database has been used to motivate Republicans to get out and vote.
"The GOP did a super job mobilizing voters," he said.
The Democrats, Rackaway said, also have a database of voters, but it's relatively new.
"They're playing catchup," he said.
University of Kansas political science professor Patrick Miller agrees.
"Most of the polls were reporting similar results," he said in a release from the university, "so the real question is how did Republicans outdo Democrats on Election Day? I think the answer is an excellent get-out-the-vote effort. Republicans simply did a better job of mobilizing their voters on Election Day."
The other idea Rackaway is considering is simply the pollsters were used by voters this election to show how unhappy they were with incumbents in the direction of the country and state.
"Voters were in a pretty angry mood this year," Rackaway said. "And what polling allowed them to do was act as a pressure relief valve. The polls allowed them to express their displeasure."
But, he said, when the time came to head to the polls, Republican voters realized they needed to rally around their party.
In effect, the pollsters' findings were little more than a bluff by voters, unhappy with how the government is operating.
Even statistician Nate Silver plans to examine where the polls went wrong, why they were skewed to Democrats.
The former New York Times guru gave the nod to Democrat Paul Davis the day before the election in the race against Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
On Wednesday, he said the polls were skewed in favor of Democrats.
"In the governor's races, there were a higher number of missed "calls," Silver wrote on his fivethirtyeight.com website.
He included Kansas in that list.
"This type of error is not unprecedented," he wrote. "Instead, it's rather common. As I mentioned, a similar error occurred in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2012. It's been about as likely as not, historically. That the polls had relatively little bias in a number of recent election years -- including 2004, 2008 and 2010 -- may have lulled some analysts into a false sense of security about the polls."
As for what the Kansas results will mean, Rackaway said it clearly will mean Roberts will go to the chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee.
As for Brownback, he must start writing a two-year budget while facing declining revenues.
"That's likely going to mean budget cuts," Rackaway said.
"It could be a pretty rough next year for the governor," he said.
But, Rackaway flatly said no when asked if he thought Brownback might reverse course on tax cuts in Kansas.