Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., has been battered with surprisingly bad poll numbers, especially given the redness of his state.

The latest: Rasmussen, a pollster often characterized as conservative-leaning, gave Democratic challenger Paul Davis a 10-point lead over the incumbent, at 51 to 41 percent.

The fact that this poll shows the majority of Kansans backing a Democrat may be explained in part by the significant support Davis has drawn from state Republicans.

Brownback famously endorsed the primary challengers of Republican state legislators who didn’t back his tax-cut-driven agenda, and those burned bridges probably haven’t made his re-election bid much easier.

Kansas gubernatorial race
Paul Davis: 51 percent
Sam Brownback: 41 percent
Other: 3 percent
Undecided: 5 percent
Source: Rasmussen

John Milburn, a spokesman for Brownback’s campaign, didn’t comment on what could be behind the low poll numbers.

“It’s hard to say just where those numbers are, and instead of getting caught up in being too far up, too far down, we’re focused on just running the campaign and spreading our message,” he said. “So that’s really where we stand on things.”

Brownback has been seen in some quarters as a potential dark-horse Republican presidential contender in 2016. It would be a long shot, given his comparatively low national profile, but the new poll numbers make it much less likely.