A new independent poll is the latest confirmation that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is highly vulnerable heading into his fall reelection fight, and suggests his independent challenger, Greg Orman, is surging.
The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for KSN News, is the third out this month to give Roberts just a single-digit lead over his Democratic opponent, Chad Taylor. Roberts takes 37 percent of likely voters, while Taylor takes 32 percent and Orman draws 20 percent support.
The libertarian candidate, Randall Batson, has 4 percent support, and another 6 percent are undecided.
Roberts emerged from a contentious primary fight earlier this month hobbled by attacks from his conservative challenger focused on his long tenure in Washington and revelations that he no longer lives in the home he owns in Kansas and stays with a donor when he returns to visit the state.
Orman’s 20 percent of the vote is a notable improvement from KSN News’s last survey, conducted in late July, when he took 14 percent.
Both Roberts and Taylor have largely held their ground since that poll, so it seems Orman’s growth is coming in large part from formerly undecided voters now tuning into the race.
The businessman has drawn national attention in recent weeks, as Roberts’s potential vulnerability, despite the deep-red lean of his state, has grown evident. Orman was the subject of a New Yorker profile this week that speculated over whether the independent could ultimately be the deciding vote in control of the Senate, if Republicans fall just short of picking up the six seats they need to flip the upper chamber this fall.
The survey was conducted among 560 likely voters through online surveys and automated surveys via landline Aug. 20-23 , and has a margin of error of 4.2 percent.
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