Here’s the latest news today out of Kansas courtesy of PPP’s latest poll:
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) October 21, 2020
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that health care is shaping up to be a potentially decisive issue in the Kansas Senate race. A total of 90% of voters say it’s either the most important issue (22%), a very important issue (46%), or a somewhat important issue (23%) when deciding who to vote for in the Senate race –this includes 58% of both Republican and independent voters. Voters trust Barbara Bollier over Roger Marshall on key issues related to healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and disagree with key Republican positions on healthcare. A majority of 51% of voters say they do not think the ACA should be struck down by the courts, which is leading to trouble for Roger Marshall:
●A plurality of 45% of voters say they’re less likely to vote for Marshall due to his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement.
●46% say they trust Barbara Bollier more on the issue of health care (including 22% of Republicans) while 42% say they trust Roger Marshall more. They also trust Bollier more by a 10-point margin (52-42) on who will protect people with preexisting conditions.Additionally, voters express serious concerns over the consequences of striking down the ACA.
●61% say that eliminating protections stopping insurance companies from denying coverageor raising the costs of care for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions is amajor concern, including 42% of Republicans. Just 22% are not concerned.
●58% say they have major concerns about over twenty million Americans completely losingtheir health insurance coverage if the ACA is struck down, including 38% of Republicans,while only 24% have no concerns.
All this adds up to a very close Senate race, with Barbara Bollier and Roger Marshall each getting43% with Libertarian Jason Buckley at 5% and 9% of voters undecided. It’s important to note that the undecideds for Senate are voting for Trump by 54 points, suggesting Marshall has room to grow. But concerns over his record on health care are giving him trouble with independents and the party base, and illustrating the importance of the healthcare issue in the race overall.
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) October 21, 2020
Slate helps shed some light on this race:
To get a sense of whether Democrats should really get their hopes up about a Bollier victory, we spoke with Don Haider-Markel, a professor of political science at the University of Kansas. His answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Slate: To get right to it, do you think a Democrat could win this seat?
Haider-Markel: Pretty much all of the polling I’ve seen in the last month has been a statistical dead heat, so it’s really hard to tell. That being said, this is a red state. Although we have a Democratic governor right now—and in the past 20 years, had two other Democratic governors, both of which were women—the statewide races for Senate have not really tilted toward Democrats above 41 or 42 percent for a very long time. So she’s got a tough path. But it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It’s entirely possible.
What does Bollier need to do, then, to win?
A big part of this is going to be turnout. If we’re looking at the kind of huge turnout that we’re starting to see with requests for mail ballots and absentee ballots in places like Georgia and Texas, it’s entirely possible that on election night she ekes out a victory. The Trump base is highly motivated and certainly going to turn out to vote. Democrats, even here in Kansas, are highly motivated to vote. So the real question is: Will those more independent-leaning voters get off the couch and get out to vote? And that’s something we’re not entirely sure about yet.
Bollier has a massive fundraising advantage in the race: She hauled in $13.5 million in the third quarter, compared to $2.9 million for Marshall. Republican outside groups have worked to make up the difference. Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC run by allies of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has invested nearly $12 million in the race and the National Republican Senatorial Committee has added more than $3 million, according to data from Advertising Analytics. Duty and Country, a Democratic super PAC, has spent $5.5 million.
The attack ads are vicious, and they’re getting noticed. The first question in Council Grove was a voter asking about an ad from Senate Leadership Fund that morphs Bollier’s face with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s. Bollier laughed, said she’d never met Pelosi, and she wouldn’t be a “sheep” for party leadership.
At several stops, she was also asked about an ad from Marshall’s campaign hitting her for a vote she took in the state legislature on a bill intended to harshen penalties for people who don’t report child abusers. The ad calls her “extreme” because she was the only legislator out of 124 to vote against the bill. But she pushes back, arguing that the legislation was poorly written and did not do what was intended, also pointing out the state Senate never even took the bill up for the same reasons.
Republicans argue that in a state where the GOP has a 2-to-1 advantage, the numbers are in their favor.“Kansans, and Kansas Republicans in particular, are more traditional and private about their vote,” said CJ Grover, a spokesman for the Kansas GOP. “It’s why you generally see high numbers of ‘undecided’ voters showing up in polling but double-digit victories for GOP candidates on Election Day. So a race perceived as neck and neck in the low 40s based on polling likely foretells a double-digit, or close to it, win for Roger Marshall.”But privately, Republicans worry about Bollier’s cash advantage and polls that, although still within the margin of error, show a tight race.“It’s not a fair fight right now,” said a state Republican operative who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank about the race. The operative said Bollier was benefiting from “the environment and the passion of the other side and the tremendous amount of money that’s flowed to it.”
In addition, the operative noted, the national party flooded the state with help and workers in 2014 when Roberts was in a tight race. None of that is happening now, the operative said, an indication that the GOP is stretched thin with other more high-profile Senate battles in states such as Iowa, and North and South Carolina.
A gigantic fundraising haul and outsized spending by a super PAC led by close allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have alarmed Senate Democrats, who fear their candidates may be outspent down the stretch of the election despite record grassroots fundraising.Senate Leadership Fund, the super political action committee controlled by McConnell allies, raised $92 million in September and began October with more than $103 million in the bank, according to a Federal Election Commission report filed Tuesday afternoon. Those huge sums, collected mostly from checks of donors who gave more than $1 million and in some cases have not revealed themselves, have helped Senate Republicans gain a financial edge in several key races.Over the final days of the election, according to the Democrats tracking media buys, Republicans are set to outspend Democrats on TV in four key Senate races: Michigan, where Democrats are hopeful Sen. Gary Peters can defend his seat against Republican John James; Georgia, where Democrat Jon Ossoff is looking to knock off GOP Sen. David Perdue; Kansas, where Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier is battling Rep. Roger Marshall for an open seat; and in South Carolina, where Democrat Jaime Harrison is putting a scare into GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Let’s keep up the momentum to flip Kansas Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Bollier, Biden and their fellow Kansas Democrats campaigns: