Kansas is a divided state, at war between red and blue and purple. Even setting aside the battle between K‑State and KU, there’s a war between conservatives, Democrats, and moderate voters who used to think of themselves as moderates.
While the New York Times can only find time to mention that 6 year-old Nebraskans love Dick Cheney, and couldn’t find time to mention that he was in Kansas not to “feel the love,” but to shore up a faltering Congressman in Red America, others are seeing a shift in purple Kansas.
The Cook Political Report just moved the Kansas 2nd from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican,” expanding the field of competitive races, and raising the odds of a split congressional delegation. And Peter Slevin writes a profile of Kansas Democrats that actually discusses the state of the races here. Kansas GOP leaders come off looking fairly buffoonish:
Ron Freeman, executive director of the Kansas GOP, called the migrating candidates — Parkinson, Morrison and seven state House candidates, including one party-switching incumbent — “a simple case of political opportunism.”
Catch that? Incumbent office-holders are switching to the minority party because of opportunism. Sure.
Furthermore, SurveyUSA’s latest tracking poll on presidential approval suggests that 6 year-olds may be just about the only people who still care for the VP. Only four states give the President positive approval, and even North Dakota tends not to like him.
Kansas has slipped down to the 19th most approving state, with only 41% approval, 57% disapproving. We’ve seen this number bouncing around a lot since the summer, with 15 point swings in net approval coming every month or so.
Approval among Republicans has been varying less and less, though it shifted 18 points this time (it jumped 24% last month). Democratic disapproval has been steadily enormous, and actually eased off this month, with net approval ticking up 7%. Independent disapproval was steady around 34% net disapproval. It seems to be settling down to a level substantially less supportive than it was when the fluctuations started in the summer.
Conservative net approval dropped 24%. Moderate approval has been fairly steady, so the 9% drop in net approval is significant, and shifts in opinion among moderates is important for election outcomes.
Approval in western Kansas is leveling out at around 50–50, as is approval in Wichita. Eastern Kansas returned to net 27% disapproval after a single month at 8%.
Over all, Kansas is getting pretty purple.