Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Popular president dominates Kentucky

Even Democrats vote for Bush

By Nancy Zuckerbrod
The Associated Press

President Bush proved to be more popular than Democratic challenger John Kerry Tuesday with men and women in Kentucky and voters of all ages and in all income brackets, according to an Associated Press poll.

In addition, Kentucky Democrats were more likely than Republicans to cross party lines in casting their vote for president.

Kentucky voters are almost equally divided when it comes to party affiliation. A little more than four in 10 say they consider themselves Democrats, and almost the same number say they are Republicans.

Bush captured the support of about a quarter of the state's Democrats, which is higher than in the national contest. Very few Republicans crossed party lines to back Kerry.

David King, of Auxier, was among those Democrats who voted to re-elect Bush. "I think he can handle the war on terror better than Kerry can," King said. "Bush has proven himself."

As for the state's independent voters, they favored Bush.

The poll of 1,034 Kentucky voters was conducted for AP and television networks by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, higher for subgroups.

Moral values No. 1

When it comes to the issues, Kentucky voters said moral values were critical in deciding how to vote for president. Virtually all of the people who said that was the most important issue for them backed Bush for president.

Nearly all of the voters who cared most about moral values also backed the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman and ban civil unions.

The economy and jobs were also a top issue for Kentuckians going to the polls, and those voters overwhelmingly supported Kerry for president.

Voters who said they wanted a candidate who exhibited strong leadership skills endorsed Bush, while Kerry got the backing of those who said they wanted a president who would take the country in a new direction.

"I guess I really just want a change," said Kim DeSha, of Louisville. "It's not that I think he's (Kerry) so much better. He would be better than Bush I think."

Sample precincts

The exit poll was conducted for the National Election Pool - the Associated Press, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC - by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

The survey was conducted at a randomly selected probability sample of 20 precincts around Kentucky.

As people left the voting booths, Edison/Mitofsky interviewers asked them to fill out a confidential paper questionnaire prepared by NEP representatives. The interviewers selected voters at a set interval - such as every fifth person - so that each participant had an equal chance of being picked.

The results were adjusted to reflect the different probabilities of selecting a sample precinct and people attending each, as well as by the observed sex, race and estimated age of voters who refused to participate.

As with any survey, the results could vary because of chance variations in the sample. For this poll of 1,034 respondents, there was one chance in 20 that sampling error would cause the results to vary by more than 5 percentage points from the opinions of all Kentucky voters.

Sampling error also depends on how many poll sites have voters with the characteristic of interest. For example, black or high-income voters may be found clustered in only a few sample precincts. Sampling error may be up to three times larger for clustered characteristics.

Polls are subject to other sources of error, such as from question wording or order.

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