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Docking survey shows Kansans happy with state

10/21/2012

Special to The Hays Daily News

Kansans responding to the fourth Kansas Speaks survey of Kansas public opinion still overwhelmingly believe the state is a good place to live, with more than 95 percent of respondents rating it from fair to excellent.

And the "fair" portion was only 9.1 percent. "Excellent" was picked by 19.7 percent, "very good" by 34.9 percent and "good" by another 32.1 percent. "Poor" (2.7 percent) and "very poor" together totaled only 4.23 percent of the 928 people who completed the 2012 edition of Kansas Speaks.

Fort Hays State University's Docking Institute of Public Affairs has conducted the survey since 2009. This year, 4,468 Kansas residents were contacted. The 928 respondents, according to Jian Sun, senior research scientist at Docking, computed a margin of error of 3.2 percent.

"The results of the 2012 Kansas Speaks survey suggest that Kansans still consider their state to be a good place to live, despite serious reservations regarding the economy and our elected officials efforts to foster improvement," said Gary Brinker, director of the Docking Institute.

"Perhaps the most interesting finding was that the new requirement to show a government-issued photo ID before voting will affect older Kansans exclusively, particularly those over 65, and that both Democratic and Republican voters were equally likely not to have a photo ID at the time of the survey."

That particular question found 2.1 percent of Kansans do not have a government-issued photo ID, and, in response to another question, 44.4 percent of those do not intend to get one. Docking's analysis of that result means more than 17,000 Kansans have no photo ID and do not intend to get any. All of them, results show, are older than 45.

The full survey report is available through the Kansas Speaks tab on the Docking Institute website, www.fhsu.edu/docking. It also appears as an insert in today's Hays Daily News.

"As the Docking Institute continues to provide this service to the citizens of Kansas, our hope is that Kansas Speaks will allow our state legislators and policy-makers to better respond to the will of the people and foster a more democratic state government," Brinker said.

Other findings from the report:

* Almost 70 percent of respondents were very or moderately concerned the Kansas economy would threaten them or their families' welfare. Older people were more likely to be concerned than younger people, and people with less education were more likely to be concerned than those with some level of higher education.

* On efforts by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas GOP to improve the Kansas economy, 37 percent were "moderately" or "very satisfied;" 27.8 percent were moderately or very satisfied with Democratic Party leaders' efforts.

* On that same general topic, younger respondents were less likely than older respondents to feel moderately or very satisfied with Democratic Party efforts on the economy, and men were less likely than women to feel levels of satisfaction with Democratic Party efforts.

* Respondents who were more likely to express satisfaction with Republican Party leaders on the Kansas economy were those who had lower levels of education, who were Republican or leaned Republican, or who were white.

* On taxes, most respondents preferred to leave income, sales and property tax rates at current levels, and 16.4 percent thought income tax should be "significantly" or "somewhat" increased. However, 52.2 percent of respondents thought property tax should be "somewhat" or "significantly" decreased.