Poll shows Kentuckians approve of Trump, disapprove of NFL protests

Emily DeLetter

A recent poll conducted by WKU’s Social Science Research Center, or SSRC, showed that 50 percent of Kentucky residents surveyed indicated they approved of President Donald Trump’s performance as president.

Results from the 2017 Big Red Poll were released on Oct. 31. Over 560 Kentuckians were surveyed between Oct. 16-27 and were asked a variety of questions concerning Kentucky and national politics as well as issues of national interest.

SSRC Director and associate professor of political science Joel Turner said the poll is student-led and has been conducted every year since 2014. All of the questions and calls made are by WKU students in his American government and public opinion classes.

The students called for 10 days from 5 to 9 p.m. each night, which Turner said came to around 40 hours of calling. The phone calls are made to a random sample of statewide numbers and a mix of home and cell phones. Turner said 60 percent of calls are made to landlines and 30-40 percent go to cell phones.

Surveyed Kentuckians were given the option of strongly agreeing, agreeing, neither agreeing or disagreeing, disagreeing and strongly disagreeing to most of the questions asked.

Turner said he had not yet completed the calculated response rate at the time this article was written, but estimated it to be around 15 percent.

Students in Turner’s American government and public opinion classes compiled a list of questions, and Turner had final approval of questions asked in the survey. Many of the students were interested in Kentuckians’ reactions to the recent NFL protests and the possibility of free community college.

Regarding those two issues, 59 percent of surveyed Kentucky residents “believe that NFL players were being disrespectful by kneeling during the national anthem,” according to the poll results. When asked if NFL protests are unpatriotic, 58 percent agreed, and 38 percent agreed that NFL owners should fire players who protest during the national anthem.

Of Kentucky residents surveyed, 55 agreed or strongly agreed that community college should be free for anyone who wishes to attend.

A Washington Post- ABC News Poll that was published Nov. 4 indicated that 37 percent of a nationally surveyed audience approved of the job that Donald Trump was doing as President. Of the Kentuckians surveyed in the Big Red Poll, 50 percent said they approved of Trump as a president.

Turner said he was not surprised that Trump is popular in Kentucky, a traditionally Republican-majority state.

“[Trump’s] popularity here has outpaced his popularity nationwide,” Turner said. “He’s doing relatively well here.”

Big Red Poll results showed that those surveyed were most split on the performance of Gov. Matt Bevin. Of the Kentucky residents surveyed, 43 percent said they approved of the work he is doing, while another 42 percent disapproved; 15 percent said they didn’t know or refused to answer.

Turner said he was surprised by these results, but believed that it was because of the recent backlash against Bevin’s pension reform plan for Kentucky teachers.

To celebrate the Halloween season, those surveyed were asked several questions about their favorite Halloween candies. The results showed that 66 percent preferred chocolate-based candy over non-chocolate based.

Kentucky residents also had a mostly negative reaction to a Halloween classic: 40 percent indicated they believe candy corn is terrible.

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.