The Buzz

New poll shows Brownback, Davis race growing tighter

By BRAD COOPER

The Kansas City Star

Gov. Sam Brownback
Gov. Sam Brownback

A fourth poll in about a week shows an increasingly tight Kansas governor’s race pitting Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and Democrat Paul Davis.

Public Policy Polling released a new survey Monday afternoon showing that Brownback and Davis are tied at 42 percent each, with Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr at 6 percent.

Most polls leading up to October showed Davis leading the governor’s race, but Brownback has been able to move back into a tie by spending millions on ads attacking the House minority leader.

A month ago — a week before a report emerged about Davis being at a strip club raided for drugs in 1998 — Public Policy Polling released a survey showing the Democrat up four points on Brownback.

The governor may be tied with Davis, but his own approval ratings have continued languishing.

About 54 percent of voters still disapprove of Brownback’s performance as governor, according to the survey of 1,081 likely voters conducted by the Raleigh, N.C., polling firm.

Davis wasn’t faring a lot better. He is struggling to get known across the state as 23 percent still had no opinion of him. Meanwhile, Davis is viewed as favorably as he is unfavorably, according to the poll.

The Public Policy Polling survey was the fourth poll that has shown promise for Brownback, who has been trailing most of the way.

An NBC/Marist College poll a week ago showed the race to be a dead heat with Davis leading by a single percentage point.

Another poll by CNN showed the race tied at 49 percent each, and a Fox News poll indicated Brownback was leading by six points.

Brownback and outside special interests have been dumping millions into the race, linking Davis to the liberal policies of President Barack Obama.

Davis also has benefited from outside groups that have been spent millions on ads against Brownback.

The Republican Governor’s Association has seized on reports about Davis being in a strip club when it was raided for drugs 16 years ago when he was 26 years old and single. Davis was in a back room with a nearly naked woman when police arrived looking for methamphetamine.

For his part, Davis said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He said he went to the bar along with his boss from a law firm that represented the club owner. Authorities said Davis was not suspected of any wrongdoing.

While the incident was first reported by the Coffeyville newspaper, it was later revealed that a lawyer in the Brownback administration requested documents about the strip club raid from local authorities.

The Davis campaign has called on Brownback to condemn the ad, calling it gutter politics and slanderous. Brownback has said he wants the campaign to be about where he and Davis stand on issues.

To reach Brad Cooper, call 816-234-7724 or send email to bcooper@kcstar.com.

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