Sen. Pat Roberts’ (R-Kan.) net approval rating has dropped 12 points in the last year, and he could face an increasingly competitive primary race for reelection, a new poll suggests.
Thirty-eight percent of Kansans disapprove of Roberts while 29 percent approve, according to an automated poll released Friday by Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP).
Tea Party-backed candidate Milton Wolf (R) has already announced his campaign to challenge Roberts in November.
The PPP poll indicates Roberts has a 49 percent to 23 percent lead over Wolf for the primary, but the pollsters say the lack of name recognition for Wolf could explain the wide margin.
Although Roberts could be at risk of losing his seat to another Republican, the poll suggests it’s unlikely for a Democrat to defeat him.
In a hypothetical match-up with county district attorney Chad Taylor (D), Roberts has a 48 percent to 32 percent lead.
If Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius challenged Roberts, she’d likely lose, according to the poll. Roberts would have a 52 percent to 38 percent lead over her.
Only 38 percent of voters in Kansas, the poll indicates, have a favorable opinion of Sebelius. More than half have an unfavorable view.
Sebelius served as the state’s governor from 2003 until 2009. Roberts has served in the U.S. Senate since 1997.
The automated poll surveyed 693 Kansas voters from Feb. 18-20 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. A sub-sample of 375 GOP primary voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.