Greg Orman’s lead in the polls over Pat Roberts only grows

In politics, being an unknown quantity is often seen as a bad thing. That is, unless a relatively anonymous candidate goes up against a toxic incumbent.

Greg Orman, the Olathe businessman running as an independent for the U.S. Senate, seems to reap the benefits of his shrouded identity. An NBC News/Marist poll out over the weekend has Orman stretching out a 10-point lead over Pat Roberts. The poll has 48 percent of likely voters picking Orman as their candidate, while 38 percent support Roberts. Libertarian Randall Batson picks up 5 percent of the vote while 9 percent remain undecided.

Roberts, the entrenched GOP incumbent, has mostly himself to blame for his showing in the polls. His campaign has been a disorganized mess. His old campaign limped across the primary finish line against troubled Leawood physician Milton Wolf, clumsily fielding questions about whether Roberts actually lived in Kansas.

A revamped campaign team’s repeated attempts to pin Orman down as either a Harry Reid acolyte or a business wonk with some questionable ties to an imprisoned investment partner haven’t resonated with voters, according to various poll results.

And then there’s the matter of the voting public’s dissatisfaction with the job that lawmakers are doing in Washington, D.C., where Roberts has been in Congress since 1981. It’s a difficult environment for incumbents, particularly those whom voters think have been on the job too long.

The Marist poll says 47 percent of poll respondents view Roberts negatively; only 26 percent of respondents have a poor impression of Orman.

Roberts seems to be losing the support of traditional Republicans, and yet his campaign is bent on getting the likes of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin to stump for him.

In other poll results in Kansas, Democrat Paul Davis’ lead over incumbent Sam Brownback has fallen within the margin of error in the NBC/Marist poll. Brownback’s approval rating in that poll is 36 percent, just 1 percentage point higher than that of Barack Obama’s rating among Kansans.

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