WICHITA, Kansas — The U.S. Senate seat held by Pat Roberts is up for grabs and the race is heating up because of a candidate who is not even on the ballot yet: Independent Greg Orman.
It is only one of many results revealed in the latest KSN News Poll conducted exclusively for KSN-TV by SurveyUSA.
Ahead of the Republican primary on August 5, Senator Pat Roberts leads conservative primary challenger Milton Wolf by 20 points. The margin of error is +/- 3.8%. It is down from a 33 point lead that Roberts had in June when the last KSN News Poll was conducted.
SurveyUSA interviewed 2,400 Kansan adults from July 17 – 22. Of those, 2,079 were registered to vote. Of the number of people registered, 691 were determined to be likely to vote in the Republican primary election on August 5.
On the Democratic side, when voters were asked, ‘If the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator were today, which Democrat would you vote for?,’ Chad Taylor garnered 48% of the vote. Patrick Wiesner took 17%. Undecided voters made up 35%. The margin of error is +/- 5.6%.
If Sen. Roberts makes it through the primary, he could face a tough challenge in the November general election: Independent candidate Greg Orman.
According to the KSN News Poll data released Thursday, Independent Greg Orman takes 14% of the vote in the general election, Pat Roberts is at 38%, Democrat Chad Taylor is at 33%, and Libertarian Randall Batson is at 4%. The margin of error is +/- 2.9%.
Roberts’ lead has shrunk by 5 points, since June when he had a 10 point lead. Taylor remained the same at 33%, revealing an only 5 point difference between the incumbent candidate and his Democratic challenger.
Orman’s percentage has doubled to 14%, from 7% in June.
SurveyUSA interviewed 2,400 Kansan adults from July 17 – 22. Of those, 2,079 were registered to vote. Of the number of people registered, 1,208 voters were determined to be likely to vote in the General Election on November 4.
Political analyst Jeff Jarman weighed in on Thursday.
“So fascinating to watch. We now have, really, candidates who are within striking distance and without the need to get a majority, who knows who will win,” said Jarman.
Jarman says Orman doubled his votes from the last poll and he may be peeling away votes from Republicans. Meaning, Orman’s presence in the race could likely help the Democratic contender in November.
“I think it speaks to the general level of dissatisfaction among politics in general in the state. First off, I think we can assume part of that is a protest vote. People don’t like what’s happening,” he said.
Jarman says the ‘Orman Factor’ means Pat Roberts could be vulnerable down the road in a state that has not sent a Democratic senator to Washington in 80 years.
“A lot of this really is based on turnout. This is consensus, but this will be based on who shows up at the polls and it’s really, still anybody’s game,” said Jarman.
KSN spoke with Greg Orman Thursday via Skype and asked him how he thinks an Independent can make a difference in the U.S. Senate.
“You know people are frustrated, they recognize that we’re sending the worst of both parties to Washington, and that ultimately, they know that for us to solve our problems as a country, we really need to send problem solvers and not partisans,” said Orman.
To watch Orman’s interview with KSN in its entirety, click here.