Friday, May 30, 2008

Will John McCain be the third Republican ever to lose Kansas?

Poll numbers show this may not be as preposterous as it sounds.

In a poll released yesterday, SurveyUSA indicates McCain holds a 49-39 lead in the state with 12% of the electorate undecided.

In a state where Republican Presidential candidates routinely put up numbers north of 60%, it's significant that McCain cannot break 50.

It should be noted that Huckabee handily won the Kansas Caucus after McCain had already effectively won the nomination and, much like the Democrats who claim they won't vote for Obama or Clinton, many of these jilted Republicans will come back into the fold before it's all said and done.

Additionally, respondents were 42% Republicans, 40% Democrat and 18% Unaffiliated. Democratic registration in the state is on the rise, but this is probably a more Democratic sample than the population as a whole.

These quirks aside, SurveyUSA has been quite successful this cycle in predicting notoriously difficult to predict primaries, so it provides at the very least for some interesting discussion.

The second thing this poll provides is a counterpoint to the recent Rasmussen poll that shows more Kansans would be less likely to vote for Obama with Kathleen Sebelius on the ticket.

The poll showed, not surprisingly, that Huckabee would be McCain's strongest running mate. Among the Democratic pairs matched with Huckabee, Obama/Sebelius does the best by far at a mere +4 for McCain.

Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is the only McCain running mate who causes Obama to lose ground (a whole point) with Sebelius on his ticket and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards is the only Obama running mate that does better than Sebelius.

As they say, the only poll that matters is in November, but this poll lends credence to the argument that Obama makes Kansas competitive. If McCain pulls in 55% instead of 60%, that spells bad news for Republicans and could mean Obama brings Nancy Boyda, Jim Slattery and Donald Betts along for the ride.

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