Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Poll: Tight Senate race in Kansas

The Senate race in Kansas is continuing to tighten up, according to a new poll from Democratic-aligned firm Public Policy Polling.

Independent candidate Greg Orman leads with just 44 percent, compared to Republican Sen. Pat Roberts at 41 percent, plus 5 percent for Libertarian nominee Randall Batson. When Batson's supporters are pushed to support a second choice, Orman continues to hold a narrow advantage of 46 percent to 43 percent. The survey of likely voters was conducted from Oct. 9 to 12, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

In the previous PPP survey from a month ago, Orman had a much stronger lead of 46 percent to 36 percent in a two-way race. The pollster's analysis finds that the unpopular Roberts does still have one strong issue going for him: Control of the U.S. Senate.

By a 52/35 margin, voters in the state would rather Republicans had control of the Senate than Democrats. And among those who are undecided, there's a 48/25 preference for a GOP controlled Senate. If voters make up their minds based on the national picture in the closing stretch, it could mean voting for Roberts even if they don't really care for him personally. [PPP]

Orman has declined to say he would caucus with either party in the Senate — even positing that he would keep the option to switch his alignment after several months if the Senate isn't being run correctly — while Republicans have sought to portray him as a direct proxy for President Obama and the Democrats.