Dr. Ernest Evans Examines Rising Crime Impact On Kansas Midterm Elections

This morning we want to feature the word of a criminology expert trusted columnist.

We thank Dr. Evans for sending this note our way that offers an alternative perspective on the aftermath of the election.

Here's the word . . .

Dr. Ernest Evans: Kansas Election Returns Reflect National Trends

In the weeks leading up to the election, the national polls indicated that two of the top issues concerning voters were crime and abortion rights.  The polls further indicated that voters concerned about abortion rights were inclined to vote Democratic, and that voters concerned about crime were inclined to vote Republican.

These poll results played out in the results of the elections in Kansas.  In the two most closely watched statewide races—the governorship and the attorney general—a Democrat won the governor's race and a Republican won the attorney general's race. As we saw from the high turnout in the August 2, 2022 referendum on abortion rights, the issue of abortion is of concern to many people in Kansas.  With the legislature having a firm GOP majority there is a lot of concern that this legislature might pass highly restrictive laws on abortion.  Governor Kelly focused her campaign heavily on such fears, and it clearly played a major role in her successful re-election campaign.

But, voters are also concerned about the national rise in crime that began in the last few months of 2019—a rise that has affected Kansas.  So, for attorney general they elected the strongly conservative, law-and-order candidate Kris Kobach.  So, in offices that deal with the abortion issue the Democrats tended to win, and in offices dealing with crime the Republicans tended to win.

The state of New York shows how these issues of abortion and crime played out on the national level.  In New York the abortion issue was not important in the election because the state legislature is solidly Democratic and hence totally unwilling to pass any major restrictions on abortion rights.  What was important in the New York governor's race was the crime issue:  New York City has seen a sharp rise in crime in the past year, and that increase has spilled over into the city's suburbs and into the upstate areas of the state.

The Republican candidate for governor, Lee Zeldin, made crime a central issue of his campaign against incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochel.  He ended up losing the race 53% to 47%--but he did much better than the GOP's gubernatorial candidate did in 2018; in that race the Democrat won by a margin of 59% to 36%.

The issues of crime and abortion rights show no signs of going away.  So, for some time to come we can expect the Democrats to do well in races that are focused on abortion rights and Republican to do well in races that are focused on keeping crime under control.

Developing . . .