Senator Moran with Double Digit Lead in Re-election Bid

The first Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey of the November general election in Kansas finds incumbent Democratic Governor Laura Kelly with a two point lead over Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt, 45% to 43%. Three percent plan to support Independent candidate Dennis Pyle and 8% are undecided. Regardless of whom they support, 54% expect Kelly to win this November, while 47% expect Schmidt to win.

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “Independent voters favor Governor Kelly over Attorney General Schmidt 46% to 30%. In addition, men and women are voting in nearly opposite ways in the gubernatorial election; men break for Schmidt 51% to 38%, and women break for Kelly 51% to 36%.”

Voters were also asked which candidate for Governor they align with most on the issue of abortion rights: Democrat Laura Kelly, Republican Derek Schmidt, or Independent Dennis Pyle. A plurality of voters (48%) align most with Kelly, 44% with Schmidt, and 9% with Pyle. 

A majority of Kansas voters (53%) view Kelly favorably, while 37% view her unfavorably, and 5% are undecided. Schmidt, while being viewed favorably by 45% of voters and unfavorably to 37%, is still either unheard of or neutral to 20% of the state. Among undecided voters, almost twice as many (64%) haven’t heard of or have no opinion on the challenger, compared to 33% for the incumbent. 

In the race for US Senate, incumbent Republican Jerry Moran leads his Democratic challenger Mark Holland 45% to 33%; 18% are undecided. Unlike the Governor race, Moran has been able to compete with the female vote at 37% each while leading with men 54% to 29% with men.

In the Attorney General election, Republican Kris Kobach leads Democrat Chris Mann 41% to 39%; 16% are undecided. 

President Biden currently holds a 36% approval rating among Kansas voters, while 58% disapprove of the job he is doing as president. In a hypothetical 2024 matchup between President Biden and former President Trump, a majority (52%) would support Trump and 36% Biden, 9% would support someone else and 4% are undecided. In 2020, Trump won Kansas 56% to 42%. 

A plurality of voters (39%) say the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago makes them more likely to support Trump in 2024, 32% say it makes them less likely, and 30% say it makes no difference on their vote. 

The economy is the most important issue for 48% of Kansas voters, followed by abortion access (16%), healthcare (9%), and immigration (7%). 

Half of voters (50%) say they voted “no” in the August 2022 primary on the propose “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment, which proposed to repeal the state’s constitutional protection for abortion, while 35% say they voted “yes,” and 15% did not vote in the August primary. 

“Among those who voted ‘no’ in August, 72% plan to vote for Kelly, while 76% of those who voted ‘yes’ plan to vote for Schmidt. Among those who did not vote, 52% support Schmidt and 32% Kelly,” Kimball noted. 


The Emerson College Polling Kansas poll was conducted September 15-18, 2022. The sample consisted of somewhat and very likely voters, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, and party registration based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample using SMS-to-web, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, web survey via email, and an online panel.