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Poll: Overwhelming Majority of Kentuckians Disapprove of Bevin, McConnell

A new poll shows that less than a third of Kentuckians approve of the jobs being done by Republican Governor Matt Bevin and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

Republican President Donald Trump and Republican Senator Rand Paul fare much better.

Western Kentucky University's Social Science Research Center released its latest Big Red Poll on Thursday, a phone survey of 531 Kentucky residents. The poll has a margin of error of 4.1 percent.

Only 32 percent of respondents approve of the job Bevin is doing with 56 percent disapproving and 12 percent undecided. 45 percent of Republicans approve while 17 percent of Democrats do. Independents support Bevin at a rate of 32 percent.

The poll was conducted from April 11-15, during which Bevin made controversial remarks about teachers' advocacy in Frankfort forcing many school districts to close. He said that he could guarantee that children were sexually assaulted, tried drugs, or ingested poison because of the school closures.

WKU qualified its poll to say that the sample is not large enough to make broad claims about the impact of the remarks, but that there is enough data before and after the comments to analyze the general impact.

The result: a 7-point decline in Bevin's approval rating, as his approval stood at 34 percent before and 27 percent after. Disapproval rose from 55 to 60 percent.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, who defeated Bevin in a heated GOP primary back in 2014, actually polls worse than the governor now.

30 percent of respondents approve of McConnell's job in Washington while 56 percent disapprove and 14 percent are undecided. McConnell has only 37 percent approval from voters within his own party.

Senator Rand Paul, in his second term in Washington, polls better. 45 percent approve of his job while 42 percent disapprove and 13 percent are undecided.

President Donald Trump, who easily won Kentucky in 2016's primary and general election, also polls better. 45 percent of residents approve, and 45 percent disapprove of Trump's job so far.

The least popular of all is the Kentucky General Assembly, which has support from just 30 percent of responders and disapproval from 56 percent.

Asked what is the biggest problem faced by the state, 19 percent responded that the pension crisis is greatest while 15 percent said opioid abuse.

On the pension crisis, 53 percent of the responders said that they sided with teachers while 16 percent support Gov. Bevin's position.

When asked about support for tax increases, marijuana legalization, and casino gambling as a way to shore up the struggling pension system, 56 percent supported casinos, while 46 percent chose marijuana as their second choice.

Tax increases were the least popular option, selected first by just 29 percent.

Read the full results here.

-Staff report

Photo: Matt Bevin