LEXINGTON, Ky. – As the 2020 General Election draws nearer, Spectrum News partnered with market research firm IPSOS to conduct an in-depth poll that reveals what issues are most important to Kentuckians. The exclusive Spectrum News/IPSOS Poll released Wednesday shows the No. 1 item most Kentuckians care about is COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • Exclusive Spectrum News / IPSOS poll

  • COVID-19 pandemic revealed as top concern

  • More detailed stories about poll results set for next few days

  • Racial injustice, healthcare, unemployment also problems

Fifty percent of respondents identified COVID-19 as the main problem facing the Commonwealth of Kentucky, while 39% feel it is drug addiction. Unemployment at 34%, healthcare at 24%, and crime and violence at 22% round out the top-five problems identified in the poll, which has a credibility interval of +/-3.5% overall. Five other problems highlighted by respondents include:

  • Racial injustice at 19%
  • Education at 17%
  • Affordable housing at 13% 
  • Taxes at 8%
  • Gun control at 7%

Respondents also answered questions about Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and his stance on wearing a mask and social distancing, with 45% of people polled saying the president's comments about masks and social distancing made him less favorable.

Racial injustice was also a topic in the poll. Questions stemmed mostly from the Breonna Taylor case. Fifty-five percent of respondents agreed that police use of excessive force against Black residents is a widespread problem, while 36% disagreed and 9% didn't know.

People polled were also asked if the recent protests would bring positive change in the community, with 35% believing they will. Forty-six percent of people polled agree Blacks and whites receive equal treatment in America, and 56% said racism is a significant problem. Forty percent of respondents said they feel safe in their community.

Some additional racial justice questions were specific to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's handling of the Breonna Taylor case. Thirty-nine percent of those polled agreed with Cameron's handling of the case while 38% did not agree. Two-thirds of all Kentuckians would like to see no-knock warrants banned, according to the poll. The poll also revealed two-thirds of Kentuckans believe the investigation into Taylor's death should continue.

At the state level, there was a more significant difference in opinion about how Cameron handled the grand jury proceedings -- 60% of Republicans believe Cameron handled the proceedings properly, compared to just 23% of Democrats.

A majority, at 59%, believed the protests following the Breonna Taylor decision put police in more danger than protesters. By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, most Kentuckians do not support reducing their local police department’s budget to invest in social programs – 60% vs. 31%.

When it comes to politics, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s approval rating is 63%. When asked about Sen. Mitch McConnell's job approval as Senate Majority Leader -- 39% approved, according to the poll.

Beshear also earns favorable marks for his handling of COVID-19 with 66% of respondents approving. A majority of people polled approve of the way Beshear is handling jobs and the economy at 56%, crime and public safety at 55%, plans for sending children back to school at 53%, and 49% approve of his handling of social unrest.

Over the next several days, the Spectrum News team will dig deeper into these and other questions that were asked in the poll.

Read the full poll data and results here.