Kansas: Jenkins Backers Tout Poll With Big Lead for Ryun

Posted April 23, 2008 at 6:28pm

A poll commissioned by supporters of 2nd district GOP primary candidate Lynn Jenkins, the state treasurer, found her 16 points behind her opponent in the Aug. 5 contest, former Rep. Jim Ryun.

In the survey of 451 likely Republican primary voters, Ryan led Jenkins 50 percent to 34 percent. The winner of the primary will take on freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda (D), who ousted Ryun in 2006.

The April 9-10 poll was conducted by Mary Christine and Associates, a GOP firm based in Lawrence, and was sponsored by the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority, a group affiliated with the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership. The error margin was 4.6 points.

Although this survey reflected well on Ryun, the Kansas Traditional Republican Majority was pleased with the results because — according to the polling memo — there is reason to believe that Jenkins is positioned to overtake Ryun on primary day.

“The momentum is in Jenkins’ favor, as there has been significant tightening in this race,” the pollsters wrote. “In May of 2007, Ryun commissioned his pollster Public Opinion Strategies to conduct a survey that showed Ryun leading Jenkins 61 to 27.”

The Ryun campaign was dubious of the new survey, and expressed skepticism that Jenkins was as close as the 16-point margin indicated.

Ryun spokesman Kyle Robertson noted that Jenkins has been on broadcast TV for the last year in her capacity as state treasurer. In the commercial, Jenkins promotes a state-funded program known as Learning Quest 529.

“Jim Ryun is up 16 points in a poll designed to personally disparage and discredit his campaign by people who don’t like him,” Robertson said. “It’s amusing that after $1 million of TV ads, Lynn Jenkins can’t crack the mid-30s against Jim Ryun, and she thinks this is good news.”

— David M. Drucker