TOPEKA (KSNT) – Derek Schmidt’s campaign pointed fingers at the media after two independent polls showed a narrow lead for his opponent, Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly, ahead of next week’s election.
CJ Grover, Schmidt’s spokesman, claims the media is determined to “suppress the Republican vote with inaccurate polling.”
However, political and polling experts are standing by the polls.
“I think it displays a little bit of ignorance about polling,” said Topeka Political analyst Bob Beatty in an interview Wednesday. “This is not a prediction of who’s going to win, and also the key is who is polled.”
“In Kansas, party registration is about 45% Republican, 26% Democrat, and 28% unaffiliated, and this poll basically mirrors that party registration,” Beatty explained.
Patrick Miller, an Associate Political Science Professor at the University of Kansas, also weighed in on the claims.
Miller called the statement from Schmidt’s campaign a “political spin.”
“The poll transparently indicates that neither candidate in the race has a clear lead. The poll is not saying that Kelly is actually beating Schmidt,” he said. “Either candidate could actually be ahead in this poll. And obviously, in that case, the undecideds are very important. Obviously, campaigns don’t like polls where it does not look like they are clearly winning, and they tend to be critical of polls like this, even if they show a tie, which this poll does.”
The latest survey of Kansas voters found the incumbent Gov. Kelly had 46% support for re-election, while 43% of voters support the Republican challenger. Five percent of voters support Independent Dennis Pyle and 5% are undecided.
The polling results are the only independent polls in the race for governor, hiring Emerson College Polling to conduct the surveys. Based in Boston, Emerson has a strong reputation for nonpartisan polling. Emerson claims a 93% accuracy rate following 54 polls across the country in the 2018 Midterm elections.
Schmidt’s campaign was not available for interview on Wednesday. They also did not respond to a request to provide information about their polling, like the crosstabs and data provided by Emerson College Polling.
However, Grover referred back to their statement, which was issued within three hours of the poll’s release.
“Despite the millions of dollars Democrats have spent on dark-money lies about Derek Schmidt and dishonest tactics to prop up a third-party spoiler, and despite the media’s determination to suppress the Republican vote with inaccurate polling like this, Kansans won’t fall for it and will elect Derek Schmidt governor on Nov. 8.”CJ Grover, Campaing Manager, Schmidt for Kansas
Schmidt’s camp accused Democrats of propping up an independent candidate, Dennis Pyle. Pyle left the Republican party in June to run as an Independent candidate.
Kelly responded to Schmidt’s team’s claims in an interview with Kansas Capitol Bureau on Wednesday.
“We have run what I think is an open and honest and forthright campaign, and the voters will decide on Tuesday, who they want to be their Governor,” Kelly said.