Poll shows McConnell under pressure at home over next coronavirus bill  

A new poll conducted by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling shows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) getting pushback from voters in Kentucky because of his opposition to more federal aid to state and local governments and his call to get kids back to school quickly.

The survey of 1,547 Kentucky voters first shared with The Hill shows that 65 percent of McConnell’s constituents favor the Democratic proposal to allocate $1 trillion to state and local governments to help cover budget costs, a number that McConnell has resisted.

Only 21 percent of Kentucky voters voiced opposition to such a large tranche of aid to states.

McConnell initially voiced opposition in April to providing any more federal aid to state and local governments, saying there would not be “any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”

His office panned the Democratic proposal for more aid as “a blue state bailout.”

McConnell later shifted, conceding that state and local governments may get some additional federal aid. But he hasn’t come close to endorsing the $960 billion proposal favored by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

The poll also found that 56 percent of Kentucky voters said they disagreed with sending kids back to school while coronavirus infections are rising. Only 31 percent said kids should go back to class while COVID-19 cases continue to mount.

Fifty percent of voters said they generally don’t think it would be safe for kids to return to school, while 35 percent said it would probably be safe.

Sixty-one percent said they trust medical experts more than President Trump in deciding how to best reopen schools while 25 percent said they trust Trump more than experts.

The poll was commissioned by Protect Our Care, a Democratic-allied group dedicated to advocating for the Affordable Care Act.

Brad Woodhouse, the executive director of Protect Our Care, said: “Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans’ blind loyalty to a president who refuses to listen to medical experts or take action to fight this virus flies in the face of their constituents who want their leaders to enact common sense solutions outlined in the Heroes Act.”

McConnell has said that helping schools reopen will be a major priority of the Senate GOP coronavirus relief bill and is pushing a five-year liability shield that would protect businesses, colleges, schools and churches from litigation related to coronavirus unless they are found grossly negligent or intentionally engaged in harmful behavior.

He has emphasized, however, that Republicans are willing to spend tens of billions of dollars to enhance safety at schools.

“We need to find a way to safely get back to work, and we feel, I feel, like the federal government will have to play a financial role in helping to make that possible,” he told constituents in Kentucky last week.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said a proposal being negotiated by the administration and Senate Republicans will include over $70 billion to help keep classrooms and students safe.

McConnell announced on the Senate floor Tuesday morning that Senate GOP bill would send $105 billion to colleges and schools “so that educators have the resources they need to safely reopen.”

The poll also found that 57 percent of Kentucky voters support a 15 percent increase in food assistance payments to families, an idea that Republican negotiators have blocked. Seventeen percent of responds opposed the increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said Congress should also increase funding for Medicaid so states don’t have to reduce health coverage during the pandemic. Seventeen percent of voters, however, said Congress shouldn’t spend more for Medicaid.

The survey shows that McConnell’s approval rating remains under water. Forty percent of respondents said they approve of McConnell’s job performance, while 48 percent said they disapprove.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, by contrast, scored a 54 percent job approval. Only 35 percent disapproved of his job performance.

The poll was conducted from July 17 to July 18 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Sixty percent of the interviews were conducted by telephone and 40 percent by text message.

Forty-four percent of the respondents were Democrats, 39 percent were Republicans and 17 percent were independents or affiliated with other parties.

Tags Charles Schumer Coronavirus coronavirus relief COVID-19 Donald Trump Mark Meadows Mitch McConnell State aid Unemployment
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