PART 1 OF 4.
Click here for the full results and methodology to our 22-question poll of likely April 2013 voters in Gardner, Kansas.
The city of Gardner, Kansas, is a suburb of Greater Kansas City and one of the fastest growing cities in the state. In 2010 to 2011, the entire state grew at a 0.6% rate, while Gardner experienced almost three times the growth rate, at 1.6%. The city grew by 104% between 2000 and 2010.
Gardner appears slightly more conservative than entire state of Kansas: Gardner voted 62% for Mitt Romney, while state-wide voters supported Romney by a margin of 60%.
Like most cities in Kansas, the city council members are majority big-government and liberal. "Republican," but liberal. They're all about "local control," which means they don't want the state lawmakers protecting the citizens' rights against high taxes, gun restrictions, etc.
There are six votes -- five council members and the mayor. As I understand it, the mayor has appointed three out of the five sitting city council members. At one point, he had appointed four of the five sitting council members. Here's how that happened. The current mayor, Dave Drovetta, was elected in 2009 to a four-year term along with three council members. In a March 2010 special election, voters recalled two council members. A third councilman resigned after punching another councilman (the guy followed his colleague home, even). And a fourth resigned after being frustrated with the general incompetence. Mayor Drovetta appointed replacements to all four of those seats. And during that brief period, Drovetta rammed through a 25% property tax increased, which was opposed by The Gardner News editorial board.
After the normally-held April 2011 elections, where three councilman were elected, Mayor Drovetta's block of appointments were down to three out of the five members of the council.
My political committee recently ran a poll on the upcoming April 2013 mayor's election, among likely voters. Below is an article about our poll in The Gardner News that was published Wednesday, December 26, 2012.
Some of our poll's findings:
- A very conservative electorate:
- 54% either described themselves as "very" or "somewhat conservative."
- Secretary of State Kris Kobach has a 56% favorability rating.
- 50% approve of Governor Brownback. Only 42% approve of Mayor Dave Drovetta.
- 70% say property taxes are too high.
- 62% disagree with the recent property tax increases.
- In head-to-head race, the incumbent mayor is roughly tied, with 46% undecided.
I'll note that, yes, there is a high margin of error of 8.9%, and that is because of the relatively few number of voters. I still consider these results valuable -- after all, even if you add or subtract 8.9% from any of these figures, they are still encouraging numbers for conservatives. I use an automated polling method, and we started with a database of about 3,000 likely voters and 2,300 valid phone numbers. The number of people answering the first question was within our average of 5-11%, but that's 5-11% of an already-small number, and we do weight the polls afterwards for gender, party affiliation, and age.
Below is the article in The Gardner News.
More to come in the following days.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Tumblr, mrcTV.org, YouTube, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, an at-large trustee at Johnson County Community College, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party, a Republican precinct committeeman in Johnson County, and was founder of the modern Overland Park Republican Party. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Kansas' largest pro-life group, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.