From the economy to evolution to the environment, a new poll released Thursday gives voice to the opinions of Kansans.
The first “Kansas Speaks” survey by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University will be used as a baseline for an annual checkup on how Kansans feel about a multitude of issues.
“We want to give Kansans a voice,” said Gary Brinker, director of the Docking Institute. “National polls regularly take the pulse of Americans on vital issues, but the opinions of Kansans have remained mostly a matter of speculation. Until now, that is,” he said.
In the survey of more than 2,000 Kansans taken by telephone from April 28 to Sept. 8, nearly two-thirds say Kansas is an excellent or very good place to live. The sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent.
When asked about the Kansas economy, 42 percent said it was good and 32 percent, fair. Eleven percent thought the state economy was excellent and 16 percent said it was in poor or very poor condition.
On the issue of taxes, more than half said they supported increasing taxes on large corporations and decreasing taxes on small businesses. Fifty-five percent favored keeping taxes on the middle class the same, while 41 percent said that taxes on the middle class should be lowered.
The issue of fossil fuels and the environment divided Kansans with slight majorities saying that the economic benefits of coal and oil production outweighed environmental concerns.
Fifty-three percent said they favored teaching both evolution and creationism in public schools.
There was a wide-range of opinion on health care issues, but 56 percent thought the government should make sure all Americans have coverage.
Other results showed that 52 percent of Kansans think public school funding should be increased, while 42 percent believe higher education funding should be increased. More than nine out of 10 think funding levels in those two areas should at least be maintained at the current level.