This begs the question: so why has the Gubernatorial race become competitive? Well, believe it or not, his hard lined conservative stances on a host of issues has caused his approval ratings to plummet.
Abortion- Brownback has tried repeatedly to defund planned parenthood. In 2011 alone, his administration spent a half million dollars to defend it's actions on planned parenthood in the courts. Brownback does support leaving the ability for a woman to receive an abortion if her life is in danger. In 2013, the Governor signed another anti-abortion bill.
Arts- The Governor tried to defund the Kansas arts commission by executive order. The Republican legislature responded by refunding the commission on a bi-partisan basis. The legislature's refunding of the commission was then vetoed by the Governor. This defunding at the state level has caused the state to miss out on $700,000 in federal grant money.
Separation of Church and State- Brownback was the only other Governor to attend the 2011 prayer rally in Texas with Rick Perry. While this is less of an issue in Kansas than it would be elsewhere, it hasn't done him any favors either.
Tax Cuts and the Budget- Likely the most unpopular thing he has done as Governor is what he did to the state's finances. His tax cuts shifted the tax burden from the wealthy to the lower and middle earners in the state. The top tax bracket was cut by 25%. He has also cut sales taxes and eliminated a small business tax. These cuts left a large hole in the state's budget and resulted in Moody's downgrading the state's bond rating. The state's revenue has shrunk by $92.8 million below projections. Further, the state's recovery from the recession has been sluggish at best.
This has lead to Brownback trailing Davis in 4 of the 6 polls released between last October and today. In the last 3 polls (2 of 3 lead by Davis), Davis has carried 20%, 26%, and 26% of Republicans. Brownback, over those same 3 polls, has carried 12%, 6%, and 7% of Democrats. This has been enough to give Davis the slight edge in the red state. 32% of respondents said that the most important issue in this year's Gubernatorial election is tax rates. 34% say Education. Also in that same Survey USA poll, Davis carried Women by 14% and Brownback carried men by only 1%. Oddly enough, Davis carries the over 50 vote and Brownback carries the under 50 vote.
While this race is still well within grabs for the Republican to hold on, this seems to be a pickup for the Democrats that is well within the realm of possibilities. I am rating this race as a "Weak Dem Gain" for now.