Monday, June 16, 2008

Conservative District?

Jim Ryun and Lynn Jenkins and even the press have been arguing on the campaign trail that the majority of voters in the 2nd District consider themselves conservative. I haven't seen any polling to back this up, so I thought I'd take a look at the official polls - elections.

Obviously, the 2nd District would not be called "liberal." It went over 60% to George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, but having lived in the 2nd District all my life, I question the argument that it is "Conservative."

First, let's examine how the district is represented in the Kansas Legislature. Of the 43 seats that lie either in whole or in part in the 2nd District, 22 are held by Democrats compared to 21 Republican-held seats.

State House and Senate seats are divided proportionately based on population, so that means the majority of the voters in the 2nd District are represented by at least one Democrat in the Kansas Legislature.

Admittedly however, the further down the ticket you go, the less significance party affiliation holds, so let's look at the 2nd District seat itself.

In the past 20 elections, Democrats have won the seat 11 times, Republicans have won it nine times. Republicans not named Jim Ryun or Sam Brownback have won the seat only three times.

To me, with the exception of Presidential races (which is more up for grabs this year than it has been in decades) the district is decidedly not liberal or conservative, but rather straight down the middle of the road.

So the next time you hear Lynn Jenkins or Jim Ryun call this a conservative district, remember, the facts don't back up that claim.

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