Kentucky Issues Poll Summary

Publication date: December 11, 2023
Written by: Sarah Coffey

The Center for Excellence in Polling recently surveyed likely Kentucky voters on important matters. Results indicate that voters in the Bluegrass State support prioritizing work in welfare programs, election integrity, streamlining licensing and permitting, and transparency in higher education.


Likely Kentucky voters support work requirements in welfare

Support among Kentucky voters is strong for reforms to welfare programs that would prioritize work.1


of likely voters support checking food stamp applicants’ financial assets, such as expensive homes and cars, to make sure they are truly eligible for benefits.


of likely voters support requiring able-bodied adults with no children at home to work, train, or volunteer at least 20 hours per week as a condition of eligibility for food stamps. 64% also support similar work requirements as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid.


support requiring the state to verify whether an individual is truly eligible for food stamps, rather than extending automatic approvals.


oppose the government sending regular cash payments to every person without requiring them to work—otherwise known as universal basic income.

Support is strong for measures to further secure Kentucky elections

Kentucky already does an admirable job at running secure elections, and voters express support for reforms that would improve the process even more. More than half of likely voters (53%), including more Democrats (55%) than Republicans (54%) and Independents (49%) oppose allowing ranked-choice voting. And nearly three-quarters of all likely voters in the state support the creation of a special unit that investigates election law violations (72%).

Kentucky supports reform to licensing and permitting

Kentucky voters also support reforms to licensing that would make it easier for people to move to Kentucky and work. Nearly two-thirds (62%) support allowing pathways other than a traditional education degree for people to become certified teachers, such as career experience or military service. And nearly 80 percent support allowing new Kentucky residents to receive an occupational license in their field if they have at least three years of on-the-job experience in their previous state, pass a background check, and pay any required fees (79%).

Kentuckians see the value of streamlining the building permit process. A full eight in 10 likely voters (83%) support requiring local governments to review and act on construction permits within 20 business days, and nearly three-quarters (71%) support reducing the fee by a set amount for each day the review is late.

Kentucky voters oppose politically motivated investing and DEI initiatives

Voters strongly oppose politically motivated investing in state contracts: 84 percent oppose allowing Kentucky to award state contracts to businesses that make business decisions based on their political agenda.

In addition, Kentucky voters are strongly opposed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.


oppose public colleges and universities requiring faculty applicants to agree with certain political positions regarding race, gender, and ideology before being hired.


oppose colleges and universities considering an applicant’s physical characteristics when making admissions decisions.


oppose spending taxpayer dollars on programs that teach Americans they are “privileged” or “oppressors” based on their skin color or their beliefs.


Voters also support improving transparency in higher education admissions: 84 percent support requiring public colleges and universities to make their admissions criteria available to the public.

Bottom line: With strong support among Kentucky voters for reforms that will help people get back to work, secure elections, streamline permitting and licensing, and improve transparency in investing and higher education, lawmakers have several opportunities in the upcoming session to pass meaningful reforms that will benefit all Kentuckians.

1 Support and oppose results are calculated throughout by combining “strongly support/oppose” responses with “somewhat support/oppose” responses.