The Buzz

Gov. Sam Brownback in deep hole with Kansans


Lots of numbers in a new statewide survey of Kansas from Fort Hays State University, but here’s the stunner:

Only 18 percent of state residents said they were “very” or “somewhat satisfied” with GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.

Kansas, in case there’s any misunderstanding, is a heavily Republican state.

President Barack Obama, long a punching bag for Republicans, rated higher. Some 28 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with the Democratic chief executive.

Bob Beatty, a political scientist at Washburn University, told the Topeka Capital-Journal that Brownback’s poll numbers were “epic.

“This could be some of the lowest approval ratings of any Kansas governor in history,” he said.

Fort Hays State releases its “Kansas Speaks” poll every year.

When it comes to Brownback’s tax policy, which has featured heavy cuts in income taxes and taxes on businesses, three-fifths (61 percent) of respondents felt the policy had been “a failure” or “a tremendous failure” in terms of economic growth. About one-third of respondents said it was “neither a success nor failure” and 7 percent said they felt it was at least “a success.” Only 0.2 percent agreed it was “a tremendous success.”

But at the same time, 61 percent of respondents favor “somewhat lower” or “much lower” taxes and spending in Kansas. And yet...about 63 percent of respondents felt taxes on top income earners should be increased while 6 percent felt they should be decreased.

Other highlights:

▪ Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents felt the new state block-grant system for funding schools resulted in a lower quality of education for public school children in their school districts.

▪ More than half (53 percent) of respondents supported “a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants with no criminal record.”

▪ Almost half (47 percent) supported allowing same-sex couples to be legally married and have the full rights of heterosexual couples.

▪ Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” supported the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care, while 38 percent somewhat or strongly opposed such expansion.

▪ More than a third (35 percent) of respondents felt that voter fraud was not a problem at all in Kansas, 47 percent thought it was a minor problem, and 18 percent thought it was a major problem. Secretary of State Kris Kobach has championed initiatives to cut down on ballot-box fraud.