February 21, 2022 6:00am

February Power Poll Results

Results of the Feb. 2022 Power Poll discussion.

Photo of Keith L. Runyon
Louisville, KY Correspondent

To say that Louisville’s Power Poll participants speak with one voice would be an overstatement. And some months, they are all over the map with their responses. But not this month. It would be nice if in more area of debate, we would find consensus.

Let’s begin with the first question, which asked whether it was time that Kentucky’s mandatory sentencing laws be reformed. A recent series in The Courier Journal examined how, over time, sentencing procedures have come to affect African American men disproportionately. Eighty-four percent of our poll respondents agree that it was time to make changes in the laws; 16 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion. The General Assembly in Frankfort has been facing a lot of issues this session, but so far, mandatory sentencing has not come up in the Capitol. Certainly, before members go home, they should at least make a study of the topic for the next time they gather.

Plenty of activity has swirled around the topic raised in Question 2 in February’s Power Poll. Several bills are under consideration in Frankfort that would dictate parameters for how public-school teachers, including those at the college level, could teach American history. “Critical race” studies, which focus on the role of slavery and discrimination in the culture and history of the United States, are under particular scrutiny. Here there was remarkable consensus: 89 percent of respondents oppose state-mandated rules about teaching history, or about nine out of ten! Seven percent thinks such limits are warranted, and just five percent have no opinion. If lawmakers are looking to Power Poll for guidance, they would be advised to shelve these bills.

Do you still go to the movies? A lot of Americans have gotten out of the habit as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. But the studios have tried other ways to capture audiences in these months of experimentation. Many of the ten films nominated for best picture of 2021 have been shown exclusively on streaming platforms. One notable exception is Stephen Spielberg’s critically acclaimed remake of “West Side Story.” (The original version in 1961 was named Best Picture. ) Yet just two percent of Louisville’s Power Poll respondents chose the musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Compare that with the whopping 73 percent (two thirds) who have no opinion or don’t know. Well, I don’t know either, but if I were a betting cineaste, I’d bet on “The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campton’s Western starring Kirsten Dunst and Benedict Cumberbatch. It is gritty, disturbing and beautifully filmed and edited. Louisville voters who had a view chose – maybe no surprise – “Don’t Look Up,” a sci-fi thriller starring our own Jennifer Lawrence. Jenny does it again! We’ll find out the answer on March 27!

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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