The Washington Post profiles Kansas governor Sam Brownback, declaring, “in Kansas, as nowhere else in the country, tea party fervor is reshaping government. The same political forces of the Republican Party driving the confrontation over taxes and spending in Washington are now completely in charge in Kansas.”
Two facts are strangely unmentioned in the article. The first is that Kansas’ unemployment rate is 6.5 percent, more than two percentage points lower than the national average. For what it’s worth, the rate is down two-tenths of a percentage point from last month. Kansas’s unemployment rate has been consistently below the national average, peaking at 7.6 percent in the summer of 2009. But perhaps the disinterest in government spending is reflected, in part, in a state population that feels like they’re doing better than most and see less need for big-spending state programs to deal with the Great Recession.
The second missing fact is Brownback’s approval rating. Apparently pollsters don’t hit Kansas very often; it’s one of three states Public Policy Polling hasn’t hit this year. Back in July, it was 47 percent with 45 percent disapproving. The article certainly suggests that Brownback’s moves are controversial, ruffling feathers, and possibly unpopular, but it would be nice to get some data to support that assertion.