Docking Institute at Fort Hays State releases poll results for governor’s race


HAYS, Kan. – Among the 19 candidates currently running for governor of Kansas, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, independent businessman Greg Orman and Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer are the most widely known – Kobach by a lot – but Democratic State Sen. Laura Kelly is most popular among the people who know who she is.

That’s according to a poll by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University. The survey sample was taken from contacts through random landline and cellphone numbers. Of 1,405 Kansas residents age 18 and older who were contacted, 367 completed the survey. The result is a 5.12-percent margin of error, meaning a 95-percent probability that the findings vary no more than plus or minus 5.12 percent from the value that would be found if the entire population of adult Kansas residents were surveyed.

The poll, conducted from March 19 to April 2, asked two questions. The first listed the 19 candidates and asked respondents if they knew each candidate.

Among all the candidates, 85.2 percent knew of Kobach, 56.7 knew of Orman and Colyer’s name was recognized by 54.8 percent. At the bottom of the recognition list was Libertarian Ethan Randleas and Republican Dominic Scavuzzo, each at a rounded off 3.3 percent.

The second question asked respondents to rate the candidates they knew using a scale from zero to 10, with zero meaning highly negative and 10 meaning highly positive.

Kelly, currently the minority whip in the Kansas Senate, and three other Democrats topped that scale, Kelly with a total positive rating of 52 percent – 28.6 highly positive (nine or 10) and 23.4 percent somewhat positive (six through 8). Josh Svaty, former state representative, was second at 51.6 percent (25.8 and 25.8); former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was third at 47.3 percent (16.3 and 31.0); State Rep. Jim Ward, Kansas House minority leader, was fourth at 36.2 (11.7 and 24.5).

Orman was fifth, 9.9 and 23.7 for a total positive rating of 33.6.

The top Republican, Emporia physician Jim Barnett, had a total 31.3-percent positive rating, 3.9 percent highly positive and 27.4 percent somewhat positive.

The complete report can be found on the Docking Institute’s Kansas Speaks page at

For more information, contact Docking Institute Director Mike Walker, 785-628-5563 or


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