Thursday, April 19, 2018


THE BIG RED POLL

Politics in Kentucky

April 11-15, 2018

Dr. Joel Turner
Director, WKU Social Science Research Center

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
The WKU Social Science Research Center (SSRC) conducted the Big Red Poll, a student-led, live-caller, dual frame (landline and cell phone) survey of 531 Kentucky residents between April 11-15, 2018.  67% of respondents were reached via land line, and 33% were reached via cell phone.  The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.2%. 
 
DONALD TRUMP
45% approve of the job Donald Trump is doing as President, 45% disapprove, and 10% are undecided.  73% of Republicans approve of the President, while only 23% of Democrats and 33% of Independents approve of the job Trump is doing.  Trump has a 65% approval rating among conservatives, 42% approval among moderates, and 16% approval among liberals.
 
MATT BEVIN
Only 32% of Kentuckians approve of the job Matt Bevin is doing as governor, while 56% disapprove, and 12% are undecided.  Bevin has an approval rating of 45% among Republicans, 17% among Democrats, and 32% among Independents.  Bevin has a 46% approval rating among conservatives, 25% approval among moderates, and 20% approval among liberals.

KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE
Only 25% of Kentuckians approve of the job done by the Kentucky legislature.  58% disapprove, and 17% are undecided.  The legislature has a 31% approval rating among Republicans, 20% among Democrats, and 23% among Independents.  The legislature has a 26% approval rating among conservatives, 26% approval among moderates, and 19% approval among liberals.
 
MITCH MCCONNELL
30% of Kentuckians approve of the job Mitch McConnell is doing as Senator. 56% disapprove, and 14% are undecided.  He has an approval rating of 37% among Republicans, 21% among Democrats, and 30% among Independents. McConnell has a 28% approval rating among conservatives, 35% approval among moderates, and 21% approval among liberals.
 
RAND PAUL
Among state politicians we asked about Rand Paul has the highest approval rating at 45%.  42% of Kentuckians disapprove, and 13% are undecided.  He has an approval rating of 60% among Republicans, 23% among Democrats, and 55% among Independents. Paul has a 60% approval rating among conservatives, 43% approval among moderates, and 24% approval among liberals.

BIGGEST PROBLEM
Respondents were asked to name the biggest problem currently facing Kentucky.  The answer most commonly given was the pension crisis (19%), followed by the opiod crisis (15%) and education (10%).  Of course, it is possible that at least some of those mentioning education would have been referring to the pension situation.  No other problem mentioned managed to reach double digits in terms of frequency. 

PENSION CRISIS
We asked a variety of questions regarding the pension crisis facing Kentucky.  First, we asked respondents if they favored Governor Bevin’s position, the teacher’s position, or if they were neutral between the two.  53% expressed support for the teachers, 16% expressed support for the Governor, and 20% indicated neutrality.  From a partisan standpoint, support for the Governor’s position was highest among Republicans (28%), while support for the teacher’s position exceeded 50% among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.  Ideologically, support for the Governor’s position is highest among conservatives (30%), while the greatest support for teachers comes from liberals (75%). 

Compounding problems for the Governor, 62% disapproved of the manner in which he has handled the pension issue, while only 29% approve of his handling of it.  His highest level of approval came from conservatives (43%) and Republicans (41%), while the greatest disapproval came from liberals and Democrats (78% each).

We also asked respondents about their level of support for tax increases, marijuana legalization, and casino gambling as mechanism by which to address the pension shortfall.  Casino gambling was the most popular option (56%).  This option was supported by 58% of Republican, 57% of Democrats, and 56% of Independents.  Marijuana legalization (46%) was the second most popular option.  Marijuana legalization was supported by 51% of Democrats, 47% of Independents, and 43% of Republicans. Tax increases, with only 29% support, was the least popular option among Kentuckians. 

In the wake of recent teacher protests, we also asked if these demonstrations, and accompanying school closings, made respondents more likely to support, less likely to support, or had no impact on support for pension reform.  The protests appear to have had the desired effect, as 36% indicated it made them less likely to support pension reform.  32% indicated that these actions had no impact, and 18% indicated it made them more likely to support pension reform.  These protests also had a positive impact across all partisan and ideological groups, as they made conservatives (30%), moderates (37%), and liberals (48%) all less likely to support pension reform.

During the midst of the survey, the Governor made his controversial remarks regarding children in Kentucky being sexually assaulted or otherwise harmed due to being left at home unattended as a result of the teacher protest and corresponding school cancellations.   Although the sample is not large enough to make broad claims regarding the impact of this, we do have enough pre- and post-comment data to take a look at the general impact of these remarks.  
 

Roughly a quarter of the sample was contacted after Bevin’s remarks.  What we see is roughly a 7 point decline as his approval before the remarks was 34%, while his approval after the remarks was 27%.  His disapproval rose from 55% before his remarks to 60% after his remarks.  Although we do not have enough respondents pre- and post-remarks to perform more nuanced analysis, it does appear that they did indeed negatively impact his approval.

GUN POLICY
We asked a variety of questions regarding gun policy in the wake of high profile school shootings that have occurred in the U.S.  First, we asked respondents if they favored having an armed resource officer at all public schools.  This proposal received overwhelming support from Kentuckians (70%).  Support for this was bipartisan, as it was supported by 78% of Republicans, 72% of Independents, and 63% of Democrats, and crossed ideological lines, as it was supported by a majority of moderates, liberals, and conservatives.  Additionally, 63% of those in favor of this also supported a tax increase in order to pay for it.  Again, in each instance a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents demonstrated support for this proposal.

Finally, 70% of respondents favored raising the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 from 18 to 21.  This policy was supported by 79% of Democrats, 73% of Independents, and 64% of Republicans.  This proposal also received 82% support from liberals, 79% support from moderates, and 62% from conservatives.

ABOUT THE WKU SSRC
The WKU Social Science Research, established in October 2012 as part of a coordinated effort involving the Departments of Political Science, Sociology, and Public Health, is a computer assisted survey lab with the capacity to conduct surveys via telephone, mail, online, and through the use of in-person interviews.  For the latest news on what is happening at the WKU SSRC like us on Facebook (facebook.com/WKUSSRC) or follow us on Twitter (@WKUSSRC).

DONALD TRUMP
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President?


Gender
Party Id
Ideology
Income

All
Men
Women
Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
<50
50<100
100+
Approve
45
52
43
73
22
33
65
42
16
49
44
48
Disapprove
45
39
46
17
76
48
26
42
82
42
44
45
Not sure/refused
10
9
11
10
2
19
19
18
2
10
12
8


Age
Race
Education

18-34
35-49
50-64
65+
White
Non-White
HS or less
College
Adv. Degree
Approve
40
30
33
54
75
41
44
50
35
Disapprove
32
40
38
30
10
38
41
41
62
Not sure/refused
28
40
19
16
15
10
15
19
3

MATT BEVIN
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Matt Bevin is handling his job as Governor?


Gender
Party Id
Ideology
Income

All
Men
Women
Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
<50
50<100
100+
Approve
32
41
29
45
18
32
47
25
20
34
24
40
Disapprove
56
54
57
43
76
51
41
62
72
55
60
52
Not sure/refused
12
5
13
12
6
17
12
13
8
11
16
8


Age
Race
Education

18-34
35-49
50-64
65+
White
Non-White
HS or less
College
Adv. Degree
Approve
30
30
33
37
32
32
36
31
32
Disapprove
55
56
55
61
56
59
55
55
56
Not sure/refused
15
14
12
2
12
9
9
14
12
  
KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE
Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Kentucky state legislature is handling its job?


Gender
Party Id
Ideology
Income

All
Men
Women
Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
<50
50<100
100+
Approve
25
21
24
31
20
23
26
26
19
26
22
25
Disapprove
58
57
57
50
65
61
57
54
70
52
73
58
Not sure/refused
17
12
19
19
15
16
17
20
11
22
5
17


Age
Race
Education
AD
18-34
35-49
50-64
65+
White
Non-White
HS or less
College
Adv. Degree
Approve
31
27
20
16
24
28
26
25
20
Disapprove
58
55
59
64
58
57
54
58
69
Not sure/refused
11
18
21
20
18
15
20
17
11

MITCH MCCONNELL
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mitch McConnell is handling his job as Senator?


Gender
Party Id
Ideology
Income

All
Men
Women
Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
<50
50<100
100+
Approve
30
31
30
37
21
30
28
35
21
32
28
27
Disapprove
56
61
54
47
67
56
60
47
68
53
60
62
Not sure/refused
14
8
16
16
12
14
12
18
11
15
12
11


Age
Race
Education

18-34
35-49
50-64
65+
White
Non-White
HS or less
College
Adv. Degree
Approve
45
28
23
14
30
31
34
28
26
Disapprove
45
58
63
64
58
43
56
55
65
Not sure/refused
10
14
14
22
12
26
10
17
9

RAND PAUL
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Rand Paul is handling his job as Senator?


Gender
Party Id
Ideology
Income

All
Men
Women
Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
<50
50<100
100+
Approve
45
51
43
60
23
55
60
43
24
46
36
45
Disapprove
42
43
42
28
61
38
31
38
65
40
52
43
Not sure/refused
13
6
15
12
14
8
9
19
11
14
12
12


Age
Race
Education

18-34
35-49
50-64
65+
White
Non-White
HS or less
College
Adv. Degree
Approve
43
52
38
44
46
39
39
50
44
Disapprove
42
37
47
50
41
53
48
38
47
Not sure/refused
15
11
15
6
13
8
13
12
9

PARTY IDENTIFICATION
Regardless of how you voted in the last election, do you consider yourself to be a Republican, Democrat, or Independent?

Democrat                                                        36%
Independent                                                    20%
Republican                                                      40%
Not Sure                                                            4%

IDEOLOGY
On a scale of one to ten where one represents very liberal and ten represents very conservative where would you place yourself? ***(1-4 classified as liberal, 5-6 as moderate, and 7-10 as conservative)***

Liberal                                                             24%
Moderate                                                         32%
Conservative                                                   40%
Refused                                                             4%


SEX
What is your sex?

Male                                                                46%
Female                                                             54%

EDUCATION
What is the highest level of formal education you completed?

Less Than High School                                     2%
Some High School                                            3%
High School Graduate/GED                            26%
Vocational/Technical School                           10%
Some College                                                  21%
College Degree                                                26%
Post-Graduate Degree                                     12%

RACE
Would you describe your race as White, African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Biracial, or something else? ***(collapsed into white/non-white categories)***

White                                                              88%
Non-white                                                       12%

AGE
What is your age?

18-34                                                               26%
35-49                                                               30%
50-64                                                               30%
65+                                                                  18%

INCOME
Which of the following categories best describes your total household yearly income?  Less than 25,000, 25,000 to less than 50,000, 50,000 to less than 75,000, 75,000 to less than 100,000, or 100,000 or more? ***(collapsed into less than 50,000, 50,000 to 100,000, and more than 100,000)***

Less than 50,000                                             46%
50,000 to <100,000                                         38%
100,000 or more                                              16%
Refused                                                             9%

PENSION 1
Governor Bevin and a large number of teachers have been in disagreement over how to reform the pension for Kentucky teachers.  Are you generally more supportive of the Governors position, the teachers’ position, or are you generally neutral in the in the political debate over pension reform.

Governor                                                         16%
Teachers                                                          53%
Neutral                                                            20%
Not sure/refused                                              11%


Party Id
Ideology

Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
Governor
28
6
10
30
9
7
Teachers
38
71
50
36
63
75
Neutral
24
13
28
26
19
12
Not sure/refused
8
10
13
8
9
6

PENSION 2
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Bevin has handled the pension crisis?

Approve                                                          29%
Disapprove                                                      62%
Not sure/Refused                                             9%


Party Id
Ideology

Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
Approve
41
16
32
43
24
18
Disapprove
48
78
60
48
66
78
Not sure/refused
11
7
8
9
10
5

PENSION 3
Several school districts across Kentucky closed over the past couple of weeks to allow teacher to go to Frankfort to protest pension reform legislation.  Did these actions make you more likely to support, less likely to support, or have no impact on your support of proposed pension reform?

More likely                                                      18%
Less likely                                                       36%
No impact                                                        32%
Not sure/Refused                                             14%


Party Id
Ideology

Rep
Dem
Ind
Con
Mod
Lib
More likely
23
18
16
22
18
17
Less likely
36
44
27
30
37
48
No impact
23
27
43
44
33
16
Not sure/refused
18
12
14
4
1
0

PENSION 4
Do you support or oppose the following proposals as ways to help the state government fund the state's pension obligations?

Tax increases
Support                                                           24%
Oppose                                                            54%
Not sure/Refused                                            22%

Marijuana Legalization
Support                                                           46%
Oppose                                                            39%
Not sure/Refused                                            15%

Casino Gambling
Support                                                           56%
Oppose                                                            22%
Not sure/Refused                                            22%

ARMED RESOURCE OFFICER
Do you think the state of Kentucky should, or should not, allocate state money each year to pay the salary and other related expenses to put a full-time armed, trained law enforcement officer -- known as a school resource officer -- in every public school in the state?

Should                                                             70%
Should not                                                      15%
Not sure/Refused                                            15%

ARMED RESOURCE OFFICER FOLLOW UP
Would you support an increase in taxes to support putting a school resource officer in every Kentucky public school? ***(asked to those who answered should to previous question)***

Yes                                                                  63%
No                                                                   20%
Not sure/Refused                                            17%

AR-15 AGE LIMIT
Do you think Kentucky should, or should not, pass a law raising the minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic weapon, such as the AR-15, from 18-21 years old?

Should                                                             70%
Should not                                                       23%
Not sure/Refused                                             7%

BIGGEST PROBLEM
What do you believe is the biggest problem facing Kentucky?  ***(open ended)***

Pension crisis                                                   19%
Opiod crisis                                                     15%
Education                                                         10%
All others combined                                         56%

***Problems listed are ones that reached double digit percentage in mentions***

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