February 5, 2013

Optimism for a better future may be slipping away’ say Kentucky polls

By Rae Hodge–

For U of L students, predictions for the future are economically gloomy. In a poll conducted by The Louisville Cardinal, 60 percent of respondents said that they believe the future generation will be economically worse off than they are. The same poll also showed that 53 percent of students believe their parents’ generation was better off economically theirs.

These numbers reflect a recent poll released from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. In their Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP), six in ten Kentucky adults surveyed said that the next generation will be worse off financially, and more than half said their parent’s generations were better off.

Health standards were also a concern in both the KHIP and The Louisville Cardinal’s campus poll. At U of L, 53 percent said that their parents’ generation was healthier than their own, while 42 percent of KHIP respondents answered the same. KHIP and U of L student respondents both appeared to lack confidence in future generations health, with 46 percent of U of L students believing future generations will be less healthy, and 40 percent of KHIP respondents beleiving the same.

“Our polling suggests that optimism for a better future may be slipping away,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in a release last Wednesday. “Policy makers in Kentucky and Washington are grappling with economic and health policy issues that have long term impacts,” she continued, “Our polling data indicates the concern Kentuckians have on the need to do better for our kids.”

The KHIP was conducted in 2012 from Sept. 20 to Oct. 14. It represents a random sample of 1,680 adults from Kentucky, who were interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. It was conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati, and has a margin error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

Perceptions about Healthcare shift geographically within the state. Louisville and Lexington area residents in particular often represent outlying data points in the overall scope of state data. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky poll that was conducted in 2011, for example, show a contrast between Louisville and the rest of the state in that Louisville adults are more likely to know where to find treatment services for depression and to believe that childhood obesity is a serious health problem. Louisville adults are also more likely to care for a chronically ill or disabled adult.

Louisville adults were found to be on par with the rest of the state, however, when it comes to whether or not they are insured, they average about 32 percent uninsured.

On the economic front, the 2011 study also revealed that the proportion of adults living in poverty throughout the state has bee increasing. Louisville adults, however, seem to be keeping pace with state-wide averages and are neither pulling ahead nor falling behind. In the Greater Louisville area, 28 percent of adults were living at less than 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The overall state average was at 34 percent with a 2.5 percent margin of error.

Kentuckians’ views about the Affordable Care Act have also been changing. A separate KHIP from 2012, which focused solely on respondents impressions about healthcare reform, showed that 28.7 percent of Kentucky adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have a somewhat favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act, while 25.9 had a somewhat unfavorable opinion. “Very unfavorable” drew thirteen percent  of respondents.

Notably, the highest percentage of those who did not favor the Affordable Care Act were college graduates, who answered “very unfavorable” at a rate of 35.2 percent compared to those who had less than a high school diploma and responded “very unfavorable” at a rate of 20.7 percent.

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Infographic: Mason McFarland/The Louisville Cardinal

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