As much of the American political world looks with interest at the Kansas 3rd Congressional District race, a poll shows challenger Sharice Davids with a three-point edge over incumbant Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder.
The poll was paid for by the Davids' campaign. Still, it's the only poll that's been made public since Davids won the primary earlier this month.
It shows Davids, a political newcomer, with 46 percent and Yoder with 43 percent. The margin of error is almost five percent so observers call the race a tie at this point. The poll does point to a trend, says political scientist Patrick Miller from the University of Kansas. "In a lot of competitive districts we’re seeing very close, very competitive incumbents who haven’t seen a race like that in a while."
Yoder has never had a close election for Congress.
Hillary Clinton won the district by a point in 2016. Democrats have considered it vulnurable for the last year. But Yoder has some heavy GOP baggage to carry. Gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach has a 53 percent unfavorable rating. Even former Gov. Sam Brownback may be a drag. The Davids' poll has Brownback with a 66 percent unfavorable rate.
But the biggest problem for Yoder is probably President Trump who has a 59 percent unfavorable rating in the 3rd District. The combination of the Trump drag and the closness of the race is the reasons outside money is pouring in. “I think that explains the onslaught of Republican super PAC money you’re seeing in this district," says Miller.
Just since last Monday, the Congressional Leadership Fund has spent $902,448 on the Yoder race, according to the Federal Election Commission. That money has been spent on media production and TV ad buys. That PAC is tied to Republican House leaders.
Outside Democratic groups are also investing heavily in the race. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has spent $154,595 on the Davids' campaign in the same time period. That money was spent on TV and mailings.
The House Majority PAC, tied to Democratic House leaders, has spent $23,730 buy online ads.
A call to the Yoder campaign asking for its polling or a comment on the Davids' poll was not immediately returned.