Centre College's exit polling examines voter trends in governor's race

Published: Nov. 12, 2019 at 6:23 PM EST
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Kentucky's general election featured a highly competitive race between Democrat Andy Beshear and Republican Governor Matt Bevin.

Centre College took a closer look at voting trends from that night to explain what happened.

"Approximately 15 to 16 percent of Kentucky Republicans voted for Beshear, while only about five percent of Democrats voted for Bevin," said Dr. Benjamin Knoll, a professor at Centre College. "When we drill down a little bit further in those numbers, it seemed like it was younger Kentucky Republicans who were more likely to vote for Beshear, especially those in the under-40 crowd. Nearly half of them crossed over to vote for Beshear in this election."

This is the first election where Centre College has made statewide efforts to collect the information.

The group also looked at whether voters' opinion of President Donald Trump played a role in the switch to Beshear.

"That's not what happened in our survey results," said Dr. Knoll. "Republicans who crossed over to vote for Beshear were actually fairly favorable of Trump."

Centre College's Dr. Ryan Lloyd added, " In Gov. Bevin's effort to nationalize the race, there was some success ... but it was limited. Maybe a little more limited than we were expecting."

A group of professors and students conducted exit surveys in Boyle County and worked with other universities to gather information from Boone, Campbell, Fayette, Kenton, Pulaski, Taylor, and Rowan counties.

In total, they collected about 4,000 completed surveys.

You can find more of their research by clicking