LEXINGTON, Ky. — How Kentuckians feel about their leadership in Washington, D.C., was the topic of several questions posed to 1,001 likely voters in an exclusive Spectrum Networks/IPSOS Poll. The poll was conducted online from Oct. 7-15 and was released Wednesday.

What You Need To Know

  • Exclusive Spectrum News/IPSOS Poll

  • Federal government receives low marks for pandemic response

  • President's tax returns did not change many people's opinion

  • Debate performance had substantial impact

Poll respondents were asked several questions about President Donald Trump, including their opinions about how his administration has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, his tax returns, his debate performance, and his being diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Trump’s performance in the first presidential debate with challenger former Vice President Joe Biden had more of an effect on people’s opinion of him than his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the poll. While 24% of people said the debate had no effect on their opinion of the president, 43% said they view him as less favorable, and just 27% said they view him as more favorable after the debate.


Unlike the state and local governments, the federal government received poor marks for its handling of the pandemic with only 34% of Kentuckians approving of the response from the Trump administration, while 60% disapprove. Republicans were the only group in which at least half gave the federal response a passing grade, with 55% approving.

The way Trump has handled the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court has affected his favorability among some Kentuckians. Thirty-three percent of people polled said they view Trump as more favorable for his nomination of Barrett, while 34% view him as less favorable. One-fourth of people polled said Barrett’s nomination had no impact on their opinion of the president.

An investigation by The New York Times into Trump’s tax returns revealed the president paid only $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. When poll respondents were asked if the news about Trump’s tax returns changed their opinion of the president, 39% said they view him as less favorable, while 17% view him as more favorable and 36% said the information had no impact on their opinion.

The COVID-19 national recovery plan has changed some Kentuckians’ opinion of Trump, with 38% of those polled saying they have a less favorable opinion of the president. Some 34% said their opinion of Trump is more favorable because of the COVID-19 national recovery plan and 20% said their opinion of the president has not changed.


Trump being diagnosed and subsequently hospitalized with COVID-19 did not affect most people’s opinions of him, with 46% responding to the poll saying the president’s diagnosis did not change their opinion. Thirty percent of respondents said they now view him as less favorable while 17% said they have a more favorable opinion of the president as a result of his contracting COVID-19.

The poll shows people’s opinion about Trump was affected the most by his comments concerning masks and social distancing. While just 25% of people responding to the poll said his comments had no effect on their opinion of the president, 45% said his comments made them less favorable toward him and 25% said they are more favorable.

Kentuckians were also asked about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job approval as United States Senate Majority Leader. McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984 and is currently being challenged by Democrat Amy McGrath in a race that has set records for campaign fundraising. The recent Mason-Dixon Poll shows McConnell with a nine-point lead over McGrath, even though 51% of Kentuckians that were polled by Spectrum/IPSOS disapprove of McConnell's job as Majority Leader. Thirty-nine percent of people polled approve of McConnell’s job performance and 11% had no opinion.

Read the full poll data and results here.