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Friday, August 1, 2014

Polling isn’t the problem


As Gov. Sam Brownback’s approval ratings keep dropping, it is difficult for GOP officials to keep dismissing the polling as flawed.

In the latest SurveyUSA poll, sponsored by KWCH, Channel 12, only 34 percent of Kansans surveyed said they approved of the job Brownback was doing as governor. That was down from 36 percent approval last month, and down 21 percentage points from when Brownback took office in January 2011.

When Brownback’s polling dropped sharply a few months ago, a Brownback official suggested that it was due to unrepresentative sampling. Then when his approval ratings dropped again in January, a state GOP official said the polling failed “the commonsense test.”

After all, Brownback couldn’t have lower approval ratings in Kansas than President Obama (who has 42 percent approval in the latest survey), could he?

Yet Brownback’s numbers keep dropping.

In the latest survey, which has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, Brownback didn’t do well with any age group but did particularly poorly with 18- to 34-year-olds. That demographic gave him a 24 percent approval rating.

The only group that gave Brownback a high rating consisted of conservatives, 56 percent of whom approved of his performance.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach also did poorly. Only 34 percent of those surveyed approved of his job performance, including only 29 percent of women.

Kansas’ two senators did much better, though not great. Sen. Pat Roberts had a 46 percent approval rating, and Sen, Jerry Moran had 44 percent approval.

The survey doesn’t explain the reasons for the low ratings. They might reflect a general frustration or more specific policy objections. But the problem is with the politicians and not the polling.

For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee

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