JOPLIN – Mo. — Incumbent Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has a 3% lead against Republican candidate Derek Schmidt. 

In our latest KSNF-KODE/Emerson College/The Hill poll, Kelly has 46% of the support for re-election. Schmidt has 43%. Independent candidate Dennis Pyle is getting about 5% of the vote, and 4% of voters are still undecided. 

“I think it’s kind of locked in, and we’ll see which side can get out their vote,” Emerson College Polling Executive Director Spencer Kimball said about the gubernatorial race. 

“If you look at the political environment, what’s interesting is she’s competing in a Republican state as a Democrat, and if she was to actually win the race, I think it would be a gold star for the Democratic party considering what they’re looking at in other parts of the country.” 

Fifty-two percent of undecided voters are leaning toward Kelly while 22% are leaning toward Schmidt.

Kelly has branded herself as a moderate candidate, literally filming a campaign ad in the middle of a road in April.

Meanwhile, Pyle is playing an interesting role in Kansas’ gubernatorial race. Pyle left the Republican party in June to run as an Independent candidate. Kimball said the 5% he’s garnering is the difference in the race.

“The conventional wisdom would be if you’ve got a Republican third party and that candidate stays in, that should help the Democrat,” Kimball said.

“If that candidate was to leave, their vote would ideologically fall more with the Republican per se. But in the state of Kansas, Kelly’s been able to stake out that moderate position and these voters clearly have some trepidation for going with Schmidt, and that might be enough for them to switch over to Kelly.”

In the race for the U.S. Senate seat in Kansas, Republican U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran leads his Democratic challenger Mark Holland 54% to 33%.

The race for attorney general may be even closer than the race for governor. Democrat Chris Mann leads Republican Kris Kobach 44% to 43%, but 11% of voters are still undecided in that race.

Kimball said there are likely factions within the Republican party. It’s why Moran is up by so much, but Kobach is in a much more competitive race.