Kansas Voters Poll

May 31, 2017

Kansas Voters:  Reduce Spending; Don’t Raise Taxes

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates today released their poll of Kansas voters during the waning days of the legislative session. 

“The message from voters is clear, don’t raise taxes,” said Pat McFerron, President of the firm which has more than 25 years of experience polling in Kansas. 

“This poll confirms what we hear daily from job creators and business leaders across the state,” said Alan Cobb, President & CEO of The Kansas Chamber of Commerce.  “It is clear, voters know that especially during a time with a fragile economy, raising taxes should not be considered.”

On an initial question asking if the state legislature should raise taxes or reduce spending, voters opt for reducing spending by a 2 ½ to 1 margin (23% raise taxes; 57% cut spending).  “Perhaps most important to a political figure should be that  among those who say they are undecided which party they will support in a generic legislative ballot, the candidate for reducing spending enjoys a 34 point advantage,” McFerron continued.

The study also asked voters whether they favor or oppose raising taxes on the middle class.  Fully 77% voice opposition to raising taxes on the middle class, with 57% saying they strongly oppose such an action.  Opposition to increasing taxes on the middle class tops 74% in each of the three major media markets and is especially strong in the 39% of households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year (79% oppose; 61% strongly opposing).

Other options for tax increases are also readily rejected by voters.  Two-thirds of voters (67%) oppose raising taxes on small businesses while only 24% approve such a change.  Fully 58% oppose any utility tax increase.   Voters also reject increasing the highest income tax bracket to 5.7% (39% favor 54% oppose) and are vehement in their rejection when such as change is described as being a 24% increase (27% favor vs. 67% oppose).  “As someone who has worked to help elect Kansans, I think it is important legislators understand how their votes can be construed by opponents,” McFerron stated.  “While they may argue it is only going from 4.6% to 5.7%, this is in fact a 24% increase and they will need to be ready to answer for this should they vote to support such a staggering increase.”

Although based in Oklahoma, native Kansan McFerron and his firm have polled for numerous successful candidates in Kansas including all of now CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s congressional campaigns, the initial benchmark study for Congressman Roger Marshall, Senator Jerry Moran, and Sam Brownback’s 2014 reelection effort.  In addition, McFerron polled in each of eight successful primary challenges to Republican incumbent state senators in 2012.  He was not involved in the 2016 state legislative primary elections.

The study concluded with a question asking about agreement with a statement that for every dollar raised in taxes, a dollar should be cut.  Fully 63% of Kansas voters agree with this sentiment, while only 25% disagree.   “More than a third of those disagreeing are opposed to any tax increases, so in essence cutting spending is a 70% issue,” stated McFerron.

“We hope this information is helpful to legislators as they wrestle with the budget situation,” Cobb stated.  “Too often, our elected leaders get caught in the bubble of a capitol building and are so surrounded by bureaucrats and administrators that they can become disconnected with voters.  This study is a great way for them to get information from and understand their constituents,” Cobb concluded. 

The study was conducted May 29-30 and is of 400 registered voters in Kansas.  It has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.  Question wording is below. Note, with a right direction number of only 21%, this poll is in line with other public polling currently being circulated.

1. Do you think that things in Kansas are headed in the right direction, or do you think things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?

21%        Right Direction

64%        Wrong Track

16%        (Do Not Read) Undecided

 2. If the election for state legislator in your area were held today, would you most likely vote for: 

43%        The Republican Candidate

35%        The Democrat Candidate

23%        (Do Not Read) Undecided

 3. Thinking about the Kansas state budget shortfall, which approach do you think the state government should take?  Do you think they should:

27%        Raise taxes

57%        Reduce spending

17%        (Do not read) Undecided

 4. Do you favor or oppose raising taxes on the middle class?  (After response, ask:) Would you say you strongly (favor / oppose), or only somewhat (favor / oppose) this tax increase?

  5%         Strongly favor

12%        Somewhat favor

17%        Somewhat oppose

60%        Strongly oppose

  6%         (Do not read) Undecided

 5. Do you favor or oppose raising taxes on small businesses?  (After response, ask:) Would you say you strongly (favor / oppose), or only somewhat (favor / oppose) this tax increase?

12%        Strongly favor

12%        Somewhat favor

18%        Somewhat oppose

49%        Strongly oppose

 6. (Split the sample with the next question) It has been proposed that Kansas increase its highest income tax bracket from 4.6% to 5.7% and include all households with annual incomes in excess of $60,000 a year in this tax bracket.  Do you favor or oppose this change?  (After response, ask:) Would you say you strongly (favor / oppose), or only somewhat (favor / oppose) this tax bracket change?

21%        Strongly favor

18%        Somewhat favor

12%        Somewhat oppose

41%        Strongly oppose

  7%         (Do not read) Undecided 

7.  It has been proposed that Kansas increase its highest income tax bracket by 24% and include all households with annual incomes in excess of $60,000 a year in this tax bracket.  Do you favor or oppose this change?  (After response, ask:) Would you say you strongly (favor / oppose), or only somewhat (favor / oppose) this tax bracket change?

14%        Strongly favor

13%        Somewhat favor

19%        Somewhat oppose

48%        Strongly oppose

  5%         (Do not read) Undecided

8. It has been proposed that Kansas institute a $2.25 per month utility fee on each utility in a home.  For homes with gas, water, and electric, this would be $7.75 a month to help raise $150 million for a school finance plan.  Do you favor or oppose this new utility fee on Kansas residents?  (After response, ask:) Would you say you strongly (favor / oppose), or only somewhat (favor / oppose) this utility fee?

22%        Strongly favor

17%        Somewhat favor

  9%         Somewhat oppose

49%        Strongly oppose

  4%         (Do not read) Undecided

 9. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:  At the very least, the state legislature should cut spending by one dollar for every dollar they raise in new taxes.  (After response, ask:) Would you say you strongly (agree / disagree), or only somewhat (agree / disagree) with this statement?

41%        Strongly agree

22%        Somewhat agree

10%        Somewhat disagree

16%        Strongly disagree

11%        (Do not read) Undecided