The Buzz

New NBC poll has Greg Orman leading Pat Roberts by 10% in Kansas Senate race

Roberts (left), Orman
Roberts (left), Orman

Independent candidate Greg Orman has opened up a double-digit lead among likely voters over three-term incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas, a new NBC News/Marist poll released on Sunday morning finds.

In the governor’s race, the same survey finds incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback at 43 percent to Democrat Paul Davis’ 44 percent.

The margin of error in the poll is 3.9 percent, meaning that the level of support for each candidate could vary by that much.

In his analysis, the pollster said the Kansas poll is full of bad news for Roberts.

“He’s in a great deal of trouble out there,” Marist pollster Lee Miringoff said of Roberts. “He’s got high negatives, his intensity of support is low, he’s losing independents by more than two to one. His to-do list is rather large in the remaining time before Election Day.”

Only 37 percent of likely voters say they have a positive opinion of Roberts compared to 47 percent who have a negative opinion. Over 45 percent of likely voters give Orman a thumbs up.

Orman is also benefiting from cross-party appeal. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans say they’re picking Orman over Roberts. Just 8 percent of Democrats support Roberts, meaning that he’s losing two Republican voters for every Democrat he gains.

Orman is also winning independents by more than two-to-one, picking up 57 percent of independent support while Roberts gets just 27 percent.

And a majority of Orman’s backers – 55 percent – say they’re backing the independent candidate mostly because they’re against his opponents.

The silver lining for Roberts, according to the survey analysis: Orman remains relatively undefined. Among likely voters who back him, only 48 percent say they’re firmly committed to him. And 28 percent of likely voters say they haven’t heard of him or aren’t sure of their opinion about him.

Randall Batson, a libertarian candidate, is picking up about 5 percent support, according to the poll.

Brownback is also struggling among key demographics as he fights to keep his job amid the backlash from a series of unpopular budget cuts.

While 85 percent of Democrats support their candidate, Paul Davis, more than two in 10 Republicans say they’re not ready to back Brownback. Davis is winning independents 49 percent to 34 percent.

Brownback's job approval rating among likely voters sits at 40 percent. Twenty-two percent of Republicans and 62 percent of independents give him a thumbs down for the job he's doing as governor.