Independent businessman Greg Orman led Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., by 5 points in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday.
The poll showed Orman at 46 percent and Roberts at 41 percent.
The Kansas Senate race is unexpectedly competitive this cycle. The last time Kansans elected a senator who was not a Republican was 1932. But Roberts has struggled with residency issues and an attack line that says he's spent too long in Washington, D.C. After Democrat Chad Taylor ended his campaign this summer, Orman — a better-funded, stronger candidate — got a clear shot at Roberts.
As a result, Roberts' re-election is imperiled. He recently joined Roll Call's monthly list of the most vulnerable senators .
Roberts is not the only Republican struggling in Kansas. Gov. Sam Brownback trailed his Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, 42 percent to 46 percent. Further down ballot, the poll found Republican nominees for secretary of state and attorney general leading their Democratic challengers.
The poll surveyed 500 likely voters by telephone from Sept. 27 through Sept. 30. The margin of error is 4 points.
The race is rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
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