Poll: Gov. Kelly narrowly leads AG Schmidt in Kansas gubernatorial race

FILE - Republican Derek Schmidt raised $707,279.02 from Jan. 1 to July 21 for his gubernatorial...
FILE - Republican Derek Schmidt raised $707,279.02 from Jan. 1 to July 21 for his gubernatorial campaign, about half of what Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly brought in for the same period.(Sherman Smith and Thad Allton/Kansas Reflector)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 11:25 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - The 2022 race for Kansas governor is tight, according to a new poll released Wednesday by KSN/Emerson College Polling/The Hill.

The survey shows incumbent Democratic Governor Laura Kelly with a two-point lead over Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt, 45% to 43%. Three percent of those polled plan to support Independent candidate Dennis Pyle and 8% are undecided. The poll states 54% of those surveyed expect Kelly to win this November while 47% expect Schmidt to be the state’s next governor.

“Independent voters favor Governor Kelly over Attorney General Schmidt 46% to 30%. In addition, men and women are voting in nearly opposite ways in the gubernatorial election; men break for Schmidt 51% to 38%, and women break for Kelly 51% to 36%,” said Executive Director of Emerson College Polling Spencer Kimball.

In August, Kansans significantly voted down a referendum on abortion rights. Of those polled, 48% believe their values align most with Kelly on the issue, while 44% align with Schmidt and 9% align with Pyle.

Half of those surveyed said they voted “no” on the proposed “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment, while 35% said they voted “yes,” and 15% did not vote in the August primary. Of those who voted “no,” 72% said they plan to vote for Kelly, while 76% of those who voted “yes” plan to vote for Schmidt. Among those who did not vote, 52% support Schmidt, and 32% support Kelly.

The poll surveyed how favorably Kansas voters view each of the candidates running for the governor’s seat - 53% view Kelly favorably, while 37% view her unfavorably, and 5% are undecided. Schmidt is viewed favorably by 45% of voters and unfavorably by 37%. Twenty percent of the state has either a neutral view of the Republican candidate or doesn’t know who he is. Among undecided voters, almost twice as many (64%) haven’t heard of or have no opinion on the challenger, compared to 33% for the incumbent.

Another race surveyed was for Kansas Attorney General. According to the poll, Republican Kris Kobach leads Democrat Chris Mann 41% to 39%; 16% are undecided.

Kansas voters will have their final say in each race during the Nov. 8 general election.

This poll was commissioned and paid for by Nexstar Media Group Inc. partners KSNW-TV, KSNT-TV, KSNF/KODE-TV and WDAF-TV, and The Hill.