Voter familiarity and local political issues

One interesting finding of the 2012 Boyle County Exit Poll is the relatively limited familiarity that many voters have with local political issues compared to national political issues. Compare the percentage of Boyle County/Danville voters who declined to answer the following questions on the survey, indicating “don’t know” or “no opinion”:

NATIONAL

  • President Obama: 4.6% don’t know/no opinion

STATE:

  • Senator Mitch McConnell: 14.9% don’t know/no opinion
  • Senator Rand Paul: 18.1% don’t know/no opinion
  • Congressman Brett Guthrie: 34.5% don’t know/no opinion

LOCAL:

  • Boyle Judge-Executive Harold McKinney: 27.7% don’t know/no opinion
  • Mayor Bernie Hunstad: 22.3% don’t know/no opinion
  • Danville City Commission: 26% don’t know/no opinion
  • Water system expansion project: 24.5% don’t know/no opinion
  • Hiring process/choice of Police Chief Tony Gray: 20% don’t know/no opinion
  • Hiring process/choice of City Manager Ron Scott: 29.4% don’t know/no opinion
  • Management of the city budget: 26.6% don’t know/no opinion
  • Preparing for the VP debate: 16.7% don’t know/no opinion
  • Purchase of the BISCO building: 29% don’t know/no opinion

It’s interesting to note that even among voters (who themselves tend to be more educated members of the population), somewhere around 25-30% indicate insufficient familiarity with local political issues to indicate an opinion one way or another. Compare this to only 5% who indicated “no opinion” on attitudes toward President Obama. 

Also, Brett Guthrie’s 35% “don’t know/no opinion” approval can probably best be understood as a result of Boyle County’s very recent redistrict into his 2nd congressional district. Boyle County voters are still just barely getting to know their new congressman.

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