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Kansas voters say they want to expand Medicaid, protect abortion and ban transgender athletes

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Kansas News Service

The newest Kansas Speaks survey shows significant worries among potential voters about the economy along with views that tilt left of the policies of the people that Kansans tend to elect to public office.

By an overwhelming margin, Kansans want to expand Medicaid and to keep their existing abortion rights. They support tighter gun control than the state has on the books and they'd prohibit someone designated as a boy at birth from competing in girls sports.

The benchmark Kansas Speaks survey released this week by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University found that people in the state tend to, with some exceptions, support more liberal policies than the Republicans they elect to state and federal office. The survey of 520 people was conducted from Sept. 19 to Oct. 2.

Here is how Kansas residents are feeling about some key issues moving into the final days before the Nov. 8 election.

Kansas Economy:

  • 46% believe the state economy has gotten worse over the past year.
  • 77% had at least some concern that the state economy would threaten their or their family’s welfare in the coming year.
  • But fewer than 14% view the economy as being in a bad place right now.

Medicaid Expansion:

  • 72% support expanding Medicaid. The Kansas Legislature has repeatedly chosen not to join the majority of states to increase the number of people covered by the federal health insurance program for the poor.
  • 76% said expanding Medicaid would help rural Kansas hospitals remain in business.
  • 52% view this as a highly important issue when voting for state representatives.

Abortion:

  • 58% think Kansas government should not place any regulations on the circumstances under which women can get abortions. That’s roughly the percentage that rejected an amendment to the Kansas Constitution in August that would have opened the door for an abortion ban after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade six weeks before the state’s primary.
  • 70% think women are in a better position than politicians to make their own choices about whether to get an abortion.
  • 77% say they would not contact authorities to report a woman who had an illegal abortion or to report her medical providers.

Guns:

  • 80% support requiring a person to be 21 or older to purchase a gun.
  • 53% support banning assault-style weapons.
  • 74% support making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks.
  • 55% believe the government and society can take action that will be effective in preventing shootings.

Education:

  • 53% do not support banning certain books from school libraries at all levels of K-12 schools.
  • 55% favor teaching racial and ethnic history and equality at all levels of K-12 schools.
  • 67% think high school athletes should compete in sports on the basis of their gender at birth.

Climate:

  • 42% think severe weather is becoming more frequent.
  • 49% see climate change as a major problem.
  • 42% see climate change as at least somewhat threatening to their or their family’s health.

Copyright 2022 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Zach Perez