Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is reportedly considering a run for a U.S. Senate seat in Kansas, and Republicans are already laughing about the possible challenge.
The GOP may have good reason to be licking their chops. Aside from the fact Kansas has not had a Democratic senator since 1939, a recent survey from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling found her candidacy would run into significant roadblocks.
There are three key numbers from that PPP poll show how bad things look for Sebelius’ hypothetical campaign.
1. President Barack Obama’s approval rating in the state is 34%.
Only 38% of Kansans voted for Obama in the 2012 presidential election. Fewer Kansans now approve of Obama’s job performance. A relatively low 77% of Democrats in Kansas approve of Obama, and Obama’s approval among Independents is a brutal 27%. The fact Sebelius has been in the Obama administration for the past five years — and that she was the face of his signature, unpopular health-care initiative — doesn’t bode well for her potential candidacy.
2. Her favorability level has plunged during her time in the Obama administration.
Sebelius was a popular two-term governor in Kansas. But during an at-times tumultuous stint in the Obama administration, her personal favorability levels took a huge hit. Only 38% of Kansans view her favourably, compared with 55% who say they have an unfavorable view of her. That includes just 75% of Democrats and 31% of Independents who have a favourable view of their former governor.
3. She’d lose to both of her potential opponents.
The PPP survey, which was conducted in February, shows Sebelius trailing both of her potential GOP opponents — incumbent Republican Pat Roberts, who has served in his seat since 1997, and Roberts’ conservative challenger, radiologist Milton Wolf.
PPP found Wolf leads Sebelius by seven points, 46-39, in a hypothetical matchup. Roberts, who is expected to stave off Wolf’s challenge, has an advantage that’s twice as big at 52-38. Sebelius trails among women against each of the candidates, and she also faces significant deficits among Independent voters — 7 points against Wolf, and 15 against Roberts.
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