Monthly Archives: November 2011

Who votes in Boyle County?

More from the 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll — a break-down of the demographic characteristics of Boyle County voters:

Age 18-29 6.2%
Age 30-44 23.1%
Age 45-64 45.1%
Age 65+ 25.5%
Income < $20K/year 10.4%
Income $20-$50K/year 20.5%
Income > $50K/year 69.1%
Female 49.0%
Male 51.0%
White 94.7%
African-American 4.4%
Hispanic 0.1%
High school or less 13.5%
College or some college 57.9%
Post-graduate degree 28.5%
Attend church never 12.9%
Attend church occasionally or once per   week 32.1%
Attend church more than once per week 55.0%
Evangelical Protestant 21.7%
Mainline Protestant 34.8%
Black Protestant 1.6%
Roman Catholic 12.2%
Jewish 0.5%
Mormon/LDS 1.1%
Other 28.1%

It looks like the “average” voter in Boyle County is a 53-year-old, white, upper-middle-class male who frequently attends a Mainline Protestant church.

Exit poll response rate was 54%

I finally got around to compiling the response rates for the 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll. In total, we asked 2,426 people to take the survey (the number of responses + number of those who were asked but declined). Of those we asked, 54% took the survey.

In total, 6,391 people voted in Boyle County on November 8th (33% of all registered voters). We had 1,313 take the survey. That’s 20.5% of all Boyle County voters who filled out our survey. Not bad! That’s why we were fortunate to get such a small margin of error (±2.4%).

Centre College enjoys high favorability among most Danville voters

96% of Danville voters view Centre College favorably, according to our 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll. However, 26.5% said that they feel that Centre College “gets too many unfair advantages within the city.”

Who feels that Centre receives unfair advantages? There seem to be four different things that make a difference. First: education. Only 16% of those with postgraduate degrees agree compared to nearly 46% of those who didn’t finish high school. Second: age. 33% of those over age 65 are in agreement vs. 27% of those under 30. Third: income. 23% of those who make more than $50K/year  agree compared to 42% of those who make less than $20K/year. Fourth: political ideology. 31% of conservatives but only 18% of liberals think that Centre gets unfair advantages in the community. Things like church attendance, partisanship, and Tea Party agreement don’t seem to make much of a difference.

On the whole, the general pattern seems to be that lower socioeconomic status and conservative political ideology are the chief predictors of who feels “resentful” toward Centre College for receiving unfair advantages in the Danville community.

Raising children makes mothers more liberal and fathers more conservative

From a new study by Laurel Elder and Stephen Greene:

This project employs 2008 National Election Study (NES) data to explore whether parents are different than nonparents in terms of their political attitudes and candidate evaluations. We find that parenthood does have political consequences although often not in ways suggested by conventional wisdom. Rather than finding parents to be a conservative group, our results support the idea that raising children has liberalizing effects on the attitudes of women. Fatherhood shapes attitudes less than motherhood, but these fewer effects are in a conservative direction. We argue that the distinctive politics of mothers and fathers reflects the impact of parenting as a gendered socialization experience combined with the contrasting parenthood themes articulated by the Republican and Democratic parties. Finally, despite media coverage suggesting Sarah Palin’s “Hockey Mom” image would attract parents, especially mothers, to her candidacy and the Republican ticket we find no support for this idea.                 

Who approves of Danville’s city commission?

The 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll conducted on Tuesday revealed that 28.6% of Danville voters currently approve of the way that the Danville city commission is handling its job, while 57.6% disapprove and 13.8% have no opinion. This post will try to answer who approves and who disapproves. (Skip to the last two paragraphs if you want the Cliffnotes version.)

Here is a lengthy enumeration of % approve and % disapprove of Danville’s city commission broken down by a number of political and demographic groups. Unlike the previous tables I’ve presented, these are to be read side-ways. (For example, the first row shows that 72.5% of those who approve of Mayor Hunstad also approve of the city commission, while 27.5% of those who approve of the mayor disapprove of the city commission.)

Approve Disapprove
Mayor Hunstad – approve 72.5% 27.5%
Mayor Hunstad – disapprove 13.2% 86.8%
Commissioner Atkins – approve 36.2% 63.8%
Commissioner Atkins – disapprove 19.8% 80.2%
Commissioner Caudill – approve 38.2% 61.8%
Commissioner Caudill – disapprove 14.7% 85.3%
Commissioner Montgomery – approve 63.6% 36.4%
Commissioner Montgomery – disapprove 9.4% 90.6%
Commissioner Louis – approve 61.4% 38.6%
Commissioner Louis – disapprove 9.7% 90.3%
Danville is headed in the right direction 59.7% 40.3%
Danville is off on the wrong track 7.9% 92.1%
Fire Paul Stansbury – approve 57.6% 42.4%
Fire Paul Stansbury – disapprove 16.6% 83.4%
Focus development downtown 32.7% 67.3%
Focus development along the bypass 33.7% 66.3%
Merge school districts – YES 30.1% 69.9%
Merge school districts – NO 37.5% 62.5%
television/radio news outlet
NPR 24.7% 75.3%
Fox News 30.5% 69.5%
CNN 35.4% 64.6%
MSNBC 41.8% 58.2%
Local news outlets 40.7% 59.3%
ESPN 43.6% 56.4%
Tea Party – agree 38.1% 61.9%
Tea Party – disagree 28.9% 71.1%
Liberal 25.8% 74.2%
Moderate 32.8% 67.2%
Conservative 39.0% 61.0%
Democrats and leaners 30.7% 69.3%
Independents 35.8% 64.2%
Republicans and leaners 37.6% 62.4%
Age 18-29 45.6% 54.4%
Age 30-44 45.8% 54.2%
Age 45-64 25.3% 74.7%
Age 65+ 34.0% 66.0%
Income < $20K/year 30.5% 69.5%
Income $20K-$50K/year 43.1% 56.9%
Income > $50K/year 30.8% 69.2%
Female 33.3% 66.7%
Male 33.3% 66.7%
Non-Hispanic white 32.3% 67.7%
African-American 51.3% 48.7%
High school or less 33.6% 66.4%
College or some college 33.9% 66.1%
Post-graduate degree 31.1% 66.9%

Right off the bat, we see that there is a strong relationship between approval for the individual members of the city commission and approval of the law-making body overall. Those who approve of Mayor Hunstad and Commissioners Montgomery and Louis also tend strongly to approve of the commission as a whole while those who approve of Commissioners Atkins and Caudill tend strongly to disapprove. This suggests that Danville voters are indeed in tune with what goes on in the city commission meetings and either blame or reward the commission as a whole based on whether they agree with the actions of the 3-2 majority (Hunstad, Montgomery, and Louis) on controversial issues.

In other areas, it seems that Danville voters associate the performance of the commission with whether they feel Danville is “headed in the right direction” or not. Nearly 60% of those who feel Danville is moving in a positive direction approve of the commission while 92% of those who feel that Danville is “off on the wrong track” disapprove of the commission. This same pattern holds for whether voters agree or disagree with the commission’s dismissal of former city manager Paul Stansbury.

Interestingly, there does not seem to be much of an effect for whether a person prefers that economic development in Danville focus on the downtown area or the business corridor along the bypass. Each group has a nearly identical approval rating of the commission at about 33%.

We do see a definite pattern in terms of some political characteristics. The commission draws higher support from conservatives (13% higher than liberals), Republicans (7% higher than Democrats), and those who agree with the Tea Party (9% higher than those who disagree). This would seem to be confirmed by the finding that only 25% of NPR listeners approve of the commission. Interestingly, though, Fox News viewers are only 6% more likely than NPR viewers to approve of the commission, while the highest approval rating (43.6%) comes from those who get most of their news from ESPN!

We also see that some demographic characteristics matter. The commission enjoys its highest levels of support among those under age 45 (nearly 46% approve) while those over 45 are about 15-20% less likely to approve. There’s also a social class difference. Middle-class voters have the highest approval rating (43%) while lower- and upper-class approval is about 10% lower. There’s also an interesting racial divide which was examined in a previous post. Finally, there is little difference based on gender or levels of education.

In sum, to answer the original question of “who approves of Danville’s city commission”, we can answer that younger, politically conservative voters with moderate incomes (who like ESPN!) are where the commission draws most of its support. Even including these groups, however, there are no political or demographic groups that have an overall positive opinion of the commission right now (with one possible exception).

More importantly, we can also answer that Danville voters definitely see a difference between Hunstad/Montgomery/Louis and Atkins/Caudill and link their opinions of either group of commissioners and what policies they have supported to whether they approve of the commission as a whole and, more broadly, whether they feel that Danville is going in the right or wrong direction. Given that the next city commission election is now less than a year away, this is something that the four commissioners up for re-election in 2012 might want to take note of.

Feelings toward parties, financial crisis, and KY senators: by party

By popular demand, here’s a quick follow-up to yesterday’s post. Here are the same figures broken down by partisanship. Independent leaners are included with the partisans. And again, these include all Boyle County and Danville residents.

Considering Kentucky’s two senators, which best represents your views?
Democrats Independents Republicans
McConnell 12.9% 22.4% 31.0%
Paul 9.1% 21.5% 42.4%
Both equally 3.0% 10.3% 13.5%
Neither 75.0% 45.8% 13.0%
In your view, which most accurately describes how things are going in Washington these days?
One party is too partisan
24.0% 16.2% 12.0%
Both parties are too partisan
63.2% 72.1% 63.6%
Both parties should fight for their views, even if it IS
12.8% 11.7% 23.4%
Who is MOST responsible for the current financial crisis?
Wall Street / big business
40.1% 46.1% 25.0%
Obama administration
5.6% 15.7% 41.0%
Bush administration
31.8% 8.8% 1.1%
19.4% 16.7% 25.2%
Homeowners / consumers
3.1% 12.7% 7.1%

Feelings toward parties, financial crisis, and KY senators

More from the 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll:

Considering Kentucky’s two senators, which best represents your views?
McConnell 20.6%
Paul 24.8%
Both equally 7.8%
Neither 42.8%
In your view, which most accurately describes how things are going in Washington these days?
One party is too partisan 17.7%
Both parties are too partisan 61.4%
Both parties should fight for their
  views, even if it IS partisan
Who is MOST responsible for the current financial crisis?
Wall Street / big business 29.2%
Obama administration 20.4%
Bush administration 14.1%
Congress 19.5%
Homeowners / consumers 5.3%

Impressions of President Obama: Danville vs. Boyle County

More from the 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll:

Danville Boyle County
Approve – Barack Obama 35.2% 26.4%
As a person, I view Obama favorably 44.1% 35.2%
Obama is a strong leader 33.6% 26.8%
Obama is intelligent 80.2% 74.4%

On the whole, President Obama is about 10% more popular in Danville than in the county. And it looks like most are willing to admit that the president is “intelligent”, but still less than half seem to think he’s a nice guy.

Basic political attitudes: Danville vs. Boyle County

More from the 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll:

Danville Boyle County
Approve – Barack Obama 35.2% 26.4%
Approve – Mitch McConnell 38.3% 40.4%
Approve – Rand Paul 48.6% 48.4%
Approve – Ben Chandler 44.5% 42.2%
Approve – Harold McKinney 80.7% 72.2%
“Agree” with the Tea Party 50.0% 54.2%
Liberal 21.1% 15.5%
Moderate 39.8% 36.0%
Conservative 39.2% 48.5%
Democrat and Independent leaners 48.1% 48.4%
Pure Independents 5.5% 8.4%
Republican and Independent leaners 46.4% 43.2%

For the most part, it looks like there’s not too many significant political differences between residents of Danville vs. wider Boyle County. The county residents have about a 10% lower approval rating of President Obama and Judge McKinney. The county also leans more conservative than the city, but there’s no significant partisan difference between the two.

Mayor Hunstad’s approval rating positive among Danville minorities

A few weeks ago Danville Mayor Bernie Hunstad was accused in a city council meeting of “ignoring the black community” (see here). According to our 2011 Boyle County Exit Poll, Mayor Hunstad’s approval rating is actually fairly positive among African-American voters polled in the survey: 45.3% approve of how he is handling his job. This is a full 10.5% higher than his 34.8% approval rating among white respondents. This suggests that the sentiment about Mayor Hunstad “ignoring the black community” is not universally shared among African-American voters in Danville.

One small caveat: African-Americans made up only 4.4% of those who participated in the survey (46 individual voters in all) on Tuesday, so we can only draw so many conclusions about how representative these numbers are of the African-American community in Danville as a whole.