Updated and expanded since last night’s story.
The February poll showed Wichita businessman Wink Hartman with a large lead over Wichita businessman Mike Pompeo, Kansas Senator Jean Schodorf, and Kansas Senator Dick Kelsey, who has since withdrawn due to family health problems. Wichita businessman Jim Anderson was further behind.
Now Pompeo has edged Hartman slightly, polling 39 percent to Hartman’s 37 percent. These two candidates have separated themselves from the rest of the field and are in a virtual tie, as the margin separating the two is well within the poll’s margin of sampling error of 4.1 percent.
The poll indicates that only eight percent of voters are undecided, a low number compared to other Kansas polls. In a poll conducted at the same time for the Kansas first district Republican nomination, 16 percent are undecided. In a May poll for the Kansas Republican Party nomination for United States Senate, 15 percent were undecided.
This low number of undecided voters is not good news for the Anderson and Schodorf campaigns, as both have a lot of ground to make up in a short time to catch the two leaders. The primary election is August 3rd, with advance ballots starting to be mailed on July 14th. The deadline for registering to vote or changing party affiliation is July 19th.
Some interesting results from the pool include these observations:
For voters self-identified as “conservative,” Pompeo leads Hartman 41 percent to 40 percent. For “liberal” voters it was Pompeo over Hartman by 33 percent to 20 percent. Schodorf, who is set off from the other candidates by her moderate voting record and positions, could garner only 18 percent of these self-identified liberal voters. 20 percent were undecided.
Among women, Schodorf increases her vote from nine percent to 11 percent. In this category, Hartman leads Pompeo 37 percent to 35 percent.
For voters who have a favorable opinion of the tea party movement, Pompeo outpolled Hartman 42 percent to 39 percent. Anderson, who has described himself as the tea party candidate, trailed with seven percent.
Pompeo edged Hartman among pro-life voters and gun owners by three and four percentage points respectively.
A question this poll can’t answer is whether Pompeo’s upward trajectory is likely to continue. The Hartman campaign started advertising on television early, which surely contributed to his lead in the February poll. By the time of that poll, it was estimated by one source that he had spent over $200,000 on television advertising.
The Pompeo campaign has not lacked for money. Campaign finance reports for March 31 showed that it had raised $606,274 and had $432,611 on hand. (At that time the Hartman campaign had spent $307,871.) If the Pompeo campaign’s strategy was to conserve funds and wait until closer to the election to start television advertising, the strategy appears to be working.
It has been thought that the best chance for a Schodorf victory was for her to take advantage of the two characteristics that separate her from the other candidates — her gender and her moderate or liberal positions. (The recent entry of Paij Rutschman in the race provides another alternative for voters wanting to vote for a female candidate, but Rutschman polled only one percent.)
But with Schodorf barely increasing her total among woman voters, and trailing both Hartman and Pompeo among self-described liberal voters, it appears that this strategy is not working.
A surprise in this poll is on the Democratic side. In this contest Raj Goyle has been presumed to be the sure victor, as his campaign has raised, by now, surely over one million dollars and is receiving national attention. His opponent, Robert Tillman (no website can be found), is running for office for the first time. He hadn’t filed any campaign finance reports as of the end of March, presumably because he had raised little or no money.
But the poll shows Goyle with only 42 percent of the vote, and Tillman with 32 percent. 26 percent are undecided. This is an unexpectedly close result.
The candidates for the Republican Party nomination (and their campaign websites) are Wichita businessman Jim Anderson, Wichita businessman Wink Hartman, Wichita businessman Mike Pompeo, Latham engineer Paij Rutschman, and Kansas Senator Jean Schodorf.