Kansas: Maybe the Numbers Are Transposed?

Kansas is a solid Republican state.

Both its Senators are Republican. All four of its Representatives are Republican. The Governor of Kansas is Republican.

In the last seven American presidential elections (since 1988), the nominee of the Republican Party was won all seven. In six of those past seven contests, the Republican Party candidate was won a majority of the vote. The sole exception was 1992 when Bush defeated Clinton in the state 38.8% – 33.7% (this was the year H. Ross Perot also ran and 27.3% of the Kansas vote went to third-party candidates). Over the past four elections (since 2000), the average margin of victory for the Republican Party nominee is 21.27%.

Given that electoral history and present state of the federal and state representation of Kansas, it almost seems like a waste of time, manpower, and electricity to do any polling in The Sunflower State.

The first poll released in 2016 to document the presidential preferences of the citizens of Kansas seems to bear this out. In late February, before the Kansas presidential caucuses, the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University released a poll (440 respondents, margin of error 5 percentage points, article here) that showed that in a hypothetical contest between Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party) and Donald Trump (Republican Party), Trump wins 46%-36% over Clinton (with 18% responding “Don’t Know”). A win of 10 percentage points may not be consistent with the history of presidential elections in Kansas, but this survey was taken three months before Trump became the presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party.

So now that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both have the label “presumptive nominee” attached to both of them, what say the people of Kansas?

As if we needed to ask.

Well, apparently, we needed.

In a survey released in June by John Zogby Strategies (433 registered voters, margin of error 4.7 percentage points, article here), 43% of the respondents said they would vote for Hillary Clinton with 36% opting for Donald Trump (21% are “undecided”).

Granted that Clinton’s hypothetical victory is within the margin of error (Trump could win with 40.7% of the vote to Clinton’s 38.3%), it is still something of a wonder to write the phrase, “Clinton wins Kansas by 7 percentage points.”

I am simply too dumfounded to go into the demographic breakdown of the Zogby poll.

I think I need to sit down.

Yes, as I have often said before, one poll is nothing to become too excited about and it is the trends that matter. To that end, more surveys will need to be undertaken in Kansas.

And just the fact that more polls need to be run in Kansas is enough to make my head swim.


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