WICHITA, Kansas — In a new KSN News Poll conducted exclusively for KSN-TV by SurveyUSA a week before the general election shows Democrat Paul Davis and Republican Governor Sam Brownback nearly tied in the race for governor with either candidate in a position to win.
In Tuesday’s new poll, the data shows Gov. Brownback at 43 percent to Davis’ 46 percent. The margin of error is +/- 4.0 percent. Seven percent of voters remain undecided.
Since the primary election, SurveyUSA has conducted polls for KSN News four times. Brownback has never led. He trailed by 8 percent in August, by 7 percent in September, by 5 percent three weeks ago, and by 3 percent on Tuesday.
KSN News Political Analyst Jeff Jarman says the closeness of the race now has to do with advertising.
“Oh, I think absolutely. It’s been a relentless amount of advertising. Lots of really hard-hitting ads, and it’s not surprising to see Governor Brownback chipping away at the lead. Everyone says they don’t like negative ads. But the reality is, it does provide information, and it does influence votes.”
Brownback holds 67 percent of the Republican base. Davis holds 84 percent of the Democratic base. Three weeks ago in a KSN poll, Brownback trailed by 27 percent among Independents. Today, he trails by only 7 percent.
Among men, Brownback and Davis are evenly tied at 44 percent each. Among women, Davis leads 47 percent to 42 percent.
Brownback is leading Davis by 1 percent in greater Wichita. He is down by 16 percent in greater Kansas City and down by 8 percent in greater Topeka.
The poll reveals that 14 percent of respondents say they have already returned a ballot.
Among that group, Brownback trails Davis by 19 percent.
Meanwhile, both campaigns have continued relentless public appearances.
“This race at this point really is a toss up. It’s going to be incumbent upon these campaigns not just to continue to message in terms of advertising, but you’ll see them shift to get out the vote efforts. And they will begin to crank up efforts to get out the vote and they will crank up efforts to get as many people to the polls as they can,” added Jarman.
KSN reached out to both campaigns to learn more about their plans to balance education funding and tax rates, if elected. We posed the same question to each campaign and requested on-camera interviews with representatives from each campaign.
Gov. Brownback’s campaign did not agree to an on-camera interview addressing our question, but the campaign’s communications director did send us the following statement:
“We agree with SurveyUSA when they say ‘Momentum is on Brownback’s side.’ We are confident we are going to win on Tuesday.”
Jill Docking agreed to an on-camera interview Tuesday, representing the Davis-Docking campaign.
“We need to do what’s been proven to be the wonderful formula we have for bringing new business in, and that is, the quality of life, and that is precisely what he is eroding in the state of Kansas by defunding education and roads,” said Docking, referring to Gov. Brownback.
VIDEO | Jill Docking candidate for Lieutenant Governor talks about Davis’ policies
VIDEO | Gubernatorial debate between Governor Sam Brownback and Democratic challenger, Paul Davis
SurveyUSA interviewed 800 Kansas adults from 10/22/14 through 10/26/14. Of the adults, 680 were registered to vote. Of those registered, 623 were determined by SurveyUSA to have either already returned a ballot or to be likely to do so before the 11/04/14 deadline.