Kentucky doing well on vaccinations, but lots of state and local government aid needed

February 26, 2021 6:00am
Photo of Tom Eblen
Lexington, KY Correspondent

Also, most poll members would have convicted Donald Trump at his impeachment trial.

Most metro Lexington Power Poll members think Kentucky is doing a good job of getting its citizens vaccinated against COVID-19, considering the limited supplies of vaccine available so far.

A large majority of Power Poll members also want Congress to provide a large economic stimulus package to help state and local governments get through the pandemic. 

And they say that if they had been U.S. Senators voting in the recent impeachment trial, former President Donald Trump would have had a different fate.

Power Poll isn’t a scientific poll. But because it asks questions about issues in the news to a large group of public officials, top business executives and community leaders in metro Lexington, it offers interesting insights into the opinions of some of Central Kentucky’s most influential leaders.

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This month’s survey drew responses from 93 of the Lexington Power Poll’s 172 active members, or 54 percent.  (Only members who respond to surveys remain active and continue to receive emails about monthly polls.)  

In mid-January, Gov. Andy Beshear  put Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, a former Lexington mayor, in charge of statewide vaccine distribution. Gray is working with corporate partners to set up regional vaccination stations across the state.

As of Thursday, Kentucky reported a total of 391,772 cases of COVID-19 and 4,336 deaths attributable to the virus. Cases have been declining, with the positivity rate below 7 percent for a week.  The number of Kentucky’s 120 counties in the “red zone” for virus transmission has fallen to 36. 

A New York Times survey of state vaccination efforts this week found that Kentucky had vaccinated about 12 percent of the state’s population, so far delivering 719,857 doses of the vaccine to residents, or 79 percent of the vaccine it has received. 

Beshear reported Tuesday that Kentucky would be getting a 29 percent increase in its vaccination supply next week, when warmer temperatures should allow the state to thaw out from a crippling winter storm that has disrupted vaccination efforts.

Sixty-four members of the Power Poll (68.8 percent) thought Kentucky was doing a “good” job of vaccinating people. Twenty-four people (25.8 percent) thought the state was doing a “fair” job, while only two people (2.1 percent) thought it was doing a “poor” job. Three people (3.2 percent) didn’t know.

Power Poll members strongly favored a large amount of federal support for state and local governments to help them get through the pandemic. A significant majority — 68 members, or 73.1 percent — favored the plan of Congressional Democrats, who are pushing for $520 billion in state and local government aid. Eleven poll members (11.8 percent) favored the Republican plan of $20 billion in aid. Fourteen members (15.1 percent) didn’t know.

Finally, Power Poll members were asked how they would have voted in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate last week. 

While it was the most bi-partisan of history’s four presidential impeachments, only seven Republican senators joined Democrats in voting to convict Trump for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. While the overall vote was 57-43 in favor of conviction, Trump was officially acquitted because the vote didn’t meet the constitutionally required two-thirds majority of 100 senators.

Seventy-seven Power Poll members (82.8 percent) said they would have voted for conviction. Nine (9.7 percent) said they would have voted for acquittal, and seven (7.5 percent) didn’t know.

Kentucky’s two Republican senators, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, voted to acquit, claiming the trial wasn’t constitutional because Trump was no longer in office. (A majority of senators and most constitutional scholars dispute that claim.) But immediately after the vote, McConnell delivered a scathing attack on Trump, making it clear that he thought the former president was responsible for the insurrection.

“I’m glad McConnell knew what the right thing to do was. I’m sorry he chose not to do it,” said poll member David Adkins, executive director and CEO of the Lexington-based Council of State Governments and a former Republican state senator in Kansas. “Rand Paul, on the other hand, demonstrated he can’t discern right from wrong and his dereliction of duty and disregard for his oath of office and his oath as a juror were and are so profound as to forever cloak him in infamy.”

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