Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles about the 2016 Kansas Speaks survey.
The 2016 Kansas Speaks statewide public opinion survey was released today, showing that over one-fourth of respondents were “very concerned” about the future economy threatening their families’ welfare, up from 19 percent one year ago.
Well over half are at least “moderately concerned.” Females and Democrats were more likely to express concern over the Kansas economy.
The survey covered state and national topics, including the upcoming election. Among likely voters who were committed to a presidential candidate, almost half favored Republican Donald Trump, ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton by 8 percentage points.
Almost half of those surveyed also favor voting to oust some of the Kansas Supreme Court justices.
Dissatisfaction with Governor Brownback reached a new high, with 62 percent saying they are “very dissatisfied,” up from 48 percent one year ago, and almost three-fourths (74 percent) saying they are to some degree dissatisfied with Brownback, up from 69 percent one year ago.
Although the Kansas Legislature fared better than the Governor, satisfaction with President Obama is now higher than with Governor Brownback and the Kansas Legislature.
• When asked to rate Kansas as a place to live, about half indicated Kansas was a “very good” or “excellent” place to live, while only 7 percent said Kansas was a “poor” or “very poor.” Republican respondents were more likely to rate the economy and Kansas as a place to live highly.
• A record high of 7 percent of respondents indicated that Kansas was a “poor” or “very poor” state to live in, while less than half of respondents rate Kansas as an “excellent” or “very good” place to live, a record low.
• Only 9 percent of respondents said they felt the State economy was “very good” or “excellent,” while 28 percent indicated they felt the economy was “poor” or “very poor.” These results are very similar to one year ago.
• Over twice as many respondents indicated they felt Kansas was on the “wrong track” as respondents who believe Kansas is on the “right track.” Males, Republicans and those with a lower level of education were more likely to say Kansas was on the right track.
• When asked their preference for addressing the budget deficit, just over one-third wanted to cut spending exclusively, while another third wanted to increase taxes exclusively. Just over one-fourth favored a combination of tax increases and lower spending. Republicans and those with lower education levels were more likely to favor spending cuts, while Democrats and those with higher education levels were more likely to favor increasing taxes.
• Of respondents who said they favor “increasing taxes” or “both” were asked which taxes they would increase, about half (51 percent) favored increasing income tax, 30 percent favored increasing property tax, and 25 percent favored increasing sales tax. Republicans were more likely to favor increasing sales tax, while Democrats were more likely to favor increasing income tax.
• Of respondents who said they favored “decreasing spending” or “both,” one-third (33 percent) favored decreasing spending on roads and highways, 30 percent favored decreasing spending for social services, 25 percent favored decreasing spending on high education, and 10 percent favored decreasing spending on K-12 education. Republicans were more likely to favor decreasing spending on higher education and social services.
• Similar to results of previous years, when asked about preferences for various taxation categories, respondents were most in favor of raising taxes on large corporations and the top income earners. The vast majority were against raising taxes on small business and the middle class.
• When asked to compare what they paid in sales tax, property tax and state income tax two years ago to the amount that they currently pay, about two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents felt that their tax burden had increased, 25 percent felt no change, and 8 percent felt their tax burden had decreased compared to two years ago.
• Of those respondents who said they plan to vote for a third party candidate, over half (54 percent) said this would be their first time voting for a third party candidate.
• When asked to give an overall rating to the four major presidential candidates, Donald Trump had the highest ratings, followed by Hillary Clinton. A large majority were neutral when it came to third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
• When asked to rate the two major party candidates on various attributes thought to be important for the presidency, Donald Trump’s highest and lowest ratings were in the same areas as Hillary Clinton. However, Trump’s ratings on each dimension tended to be higher than for Clinton.
Kansas Supreme Court
• When asked how they felt about retaining the five Kansas Supreme Court Justices up for re-election, almost half of respondents tended to favor ousting at least some, though one-third said they would retain all five. Democrats and those with higher education levels were more likely to say they will vote to retain all of the justices, while Republicans and those with lower education levels were more likely to say they will vote to retain some.
• When rated individually, each justice received support from almost half of likely voters, leaving over one-third undecided on each justice.
• Among the officials and institutions measured, the Kansas Supreme Court, closely followed by Sen. Jerry Moran, yielded the highest satisfaction levels, with over half being satisfied with the Court and just under half satisfied with Moran.