The 2016 Boyle County Exit Poll asked voters who they voted for in the Kentucky 54th state legislative race (Boyle and Casey counties) between incumbent Republican Daniel Elliot and challenger Democrat Bill Noelker. The survey also asked a variety of other questions about the voter’s political opinions and demographic characteristics. I used a “multivariate regression” analysis to see what difference these various factors made in predicting a vote for Daniel Elliot in Boyle County, controlling for the effect of every other factor. Here are the results:
|Republican political partisanship||46.6%|
|Governor Bevin approval||39.5%|
|President Obama disapproval||32.9%|
|Kentucky rural resource distribution||31.2%|
|Frequent church attendance||23.8%|
(For statistics nerds, these are the minimum to max predicted probabilities of each factor in predicting a vote for Elliot in a logistic regression model. Presented coefficients are statistically significant at p<0.05.)
This is telling us that, controlling for all other factors, being a Republican was the strongest factor in predicting a vote for Daniel Elliot in Boyle County: Republicans were 46.6% more likely than Democrats to do so. Approval of Governor Matt Bevin was the second-highest factor: those who approve of Governor Bevin were 39.5% more likely to vote for Elliot than those who disapprove. Similarly, those who disapprove of President Obama were 32.9% less likely to vote for Elliot than those who approve.
Interestingly, those who say that the Kentucky state government does not do a good job at distributing resources equally between Louisville/Lexington and rural parts of the state were 31.2% more likely to vote for Elliot than those who think the Kentucky state government does a very good job.
Two demographic factors also made a differences: white voters were 25% more likely to vote for Elliot than non-white voters and those who attend religious services once a week or more were 23.8% more likely to vote for Elliot than those who never attend religious services.
There are also several things that did not matter in predicting a vote for Elliot over Bevin once these other factors were controlled for. These included a voter’s gender, income, age, or level of education. It also included whether or not the voter thought Boyle County was on the right or wrong track as well as whether they thought that Boyle County’s economy had gotten better or worse over this past year.
In sum, voting patterns in the 54th state legislative race (for Boyle County voters, at least) was mostly a function of political partisanship with some degree of concern about how Kentucky distributes resources between rural and urban parts of the state. Race and religion also played a smaller role.