New poll has Greg Orman stretching out a 7 point lead over Pat Roberts

It’s a strange election cycle in Kansas politics, one in which some polls show a Democrat leading a name-brand Republican for the governor’s office and an independent Senate candidate possibly taking out an entrenched incumbent.

Public Policy Polling has a slew of Kansas electoral polling out Tuesday that shows Olathe independent Greg Orman leading D.C. Beltway lifer Pat Roberts by 7 percentage points for the Senate. The survey of 1,328 likely Kansas voters has Orman picking up 41 percent of the vote to Roberts’ 34. Libertarian candidate Randall Batson picks up 4 percent in the PPP poll, while Democrat Chad Taylor has 6 percent of the vote.

Taylor’s 6 percent and the remaining 15 percent of undecided voters give plenty of votes to pick up between the leading candidates ahead of the November election. Taylor’s lawyers argued before the Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday to order their client’s name off the ballot once and for all. Taylor unexpectedly withdrew from the race after winning the August Democratic primary. Taylor didn’t offer a concrete reason for his withdrawal (although it’s clear he was pressured by Democratic interests to do so), which is part of the reason that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach refused to scrub Taylor’s name from the ballot.

Arguments for and against having Taylor’s name on the ballot seem to rest on legal semantics. The Kansas Supreme Court is expected to rule in short order.

It’s reasonable to suspect that the 6 percent still planning to vote for Taylor might cast their lot with Orman if Taylor succeeds in getting off the ballot. Orman insists that he’s not persuaded by either major political party, but donated heavily to Democratic candidates in the past and, at one point, ran under that party’s flag. Roberts’ newly constructed campaign team seized heavily on that, tagging Orman constantly as a Barack Obama/Obamacare/Nancy Pelosi acolyte.

Roberts’ team has been hard at work to recast the three-term senator, especially after failed GOP candidate Milton Wolf did a decent enough job of getting Kansans to wonder whether Roberts lives at all in the state he represents. The PPP poll found that 63 percent of respondents believe Roberts doesn’t spend enough time in Kansas.

(It’s worth mentioning that PPP is widely seen as a left-leaning operation.)

Other findings in the PPP poll:

• Paul Davis has a 4 percent lead over Sam Brownback.

• Kobach has a statistically meaningless advantage over Democratic challenger Jean Schodorf for secretary of state.

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