Student polling predicts upcoming election | BCTC

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Student polling predicts upcoming election

Published on Oct 29, 2020

LEXINGTON, KY - Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) political science students are getting hands on political experience this fall.

Over the past two weeks, political science students at BCTC contributed to a 30+ year college tradition  of polling the area in search of predictions for Kentucky elections.  Under the leadership of Professor Hossein Motamedi, director of the BCTC Public Opinion Poll, students in American government courses taught by Professors Cindy Baker, Gil Wheeler, and Christopher Ledford polled 261 voters across Kentucky in advance of Election Day and found some interesting results.  

Professors Baker, Ledford and Wheeler's students called individuals from a frequent voters list representing Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, and the 6th District Oct. 16 – 28. Of those polled, 56.2% are registered Democrats, 37.0% are registered Republicans, and 6.8% identify as other.

Students asked respondents questions about how well state and federal officials are doing their jobs and handling the COVID-19 pandemic.[1]

  • Regarding how President Trump has done his job so far, 30.4% of Kentuckians polled rate the President's performance as outstanding, 25.6% rate his performance as good, 9.2% rate his performance as below average, and 33.2% rate his performance as bad.  1.9% indicate they are undecided.
  • Regarding President Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, 21.3% of Kentuckians polled strongly approve, 28.5% approve, 16.9% disapprove, and 30.1% strongly disapprove.  3.2% are undecided.
  • Regarding Governor Beshear's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, 25.2% of Kentuckians polled strongly approve, 36.0% approve, 20.4% disapprove, and 10.4% strongly disapprove.  8.0% are undecided.
  • Regarding how Kentucky legislators have done their jobs so far, 6.8% of Kentuckians polled rate the legislators' performance as outstanding, 48.2% rate their performance as good, 18.9% rate their performance as below average, and 12.1% rate their performance as bad.  14.1% are undecided.

The poll also asked respondents to indicate for whom they would vote if the "election was held today."

For U.S. Senate, 50.0% of Kentuckians polled indicate a vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and 39.6% indicate a vote for retired Lt. Col. Amy McGrath (D). 10.4% are undecided.
For U.S. President, 52.0% of Kentuckians polled indicate a vote for President Donald Trump (R) and 38.8% indicate a vote for former Vice President Joe Biden (D).  9.2% are undecided.

The 2020 BCTC Public Opinion Poll tracks closely with recent large-sample polls identified as reputable by FiveThirtyEight.[2]  A recent Cygnal poll conducted with 640 likely voters from October 19-20 forecasts that McConnell will retain his seat with 50% of the vote compared to 40% for McGrath.  A recent Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey conducted with 625 likely voters from October 12-15 forecasts the election at 51% for McConnell and 42% for McGrath.  Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy's survey also forecasts that Trump will carry Kentucky with 56% of the vote compared to 39% for Biden.  

Students enjoyed real world political experiences by conducting election polls, especially while learning about public opinion and elections during an election year.

Learn more about political science at BCTC and enrolling for the 4-week winter session or the spring semester.

[1] Reporting completed survey responses. The margin of error for our survey is 6%.

[2] We report polls given a B reputability grade or higher by FiveThirtyEight.

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