Breaking down the Kansas Senate polls

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The General Election on November 3 is about five weeks away and polls are showing a tight race for the open U.S. Senate seat in Kansas. But it’s important to know about the organization behind the polls.

Kansas has seen six polls from five different organizations since March of 2020. See the breakdown below:

Courtesy Dr. Bob Beatty

As seen above, depending on numerous factors, the polls you see could have quite different results.

It’s important to take into account how people were polled. For instance, how likely are you to answer the phone for an unknown number? What about respond to a text? Pollsters like Public Policy Polling (PPP) tend to use phone calls and texts to poll people. Whereas Civiqs polls people online. Most organizations use a combination of live calls, recorded calls, texts and online surveys.

You should also look to see who is conducting the poll. For example, the NRSC released a poll in June that showed Republican candidate Roger Marshall in the lead of Democrat Barbara Bollier by 11 points. However, these poll results came from the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC), so there could be a lean toward the Republican candidate.

Similarly, the most recent poll released September 19 from Data for Progress shows Marshall and Bollier tied. Most of this pollsters polls are conducted online or via text. However, the organization sometimes leans to the left on political issues, which may mean they favor Bollier.

You can also do research on pollsters to see historically how often the organization has correctly predicted an election outcome. If the organization regularly lists eventual winners as high polling candidates, that organization may have developed an unbiased, accurate way of polling voters.

Political analyst Dr. Beatty took an average of the last five polls conducted for the U.S. Senate race in Kansas and found that Marshall, on average, is beating Bollier by just three points.

But Dr. Beatty said polls may not mean much this early in the process. Many voters are waiting to see how candidates do in a statewide, televised debate.

“The debates often have a big impact on the Kansas Senate races,” explained Dr. Beatty. “It’s going to be hard to see what’s going to influence this race, so a debate has the potential to influence the race.”

If Bollier wins the Senate seat, she will be the first Democrat to be elected to the Senate in Kansas since 1932. Dr. Beatty says funding support from national political groups has had a big impact on the Kansas Senate race already.

“If this was not a tight race, then the parties would not be spending millions – with an s – millions of dollars in Kansas,” Beatty said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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