Multi-question MTSU Poll: Obamacare repeal, school bus seat belts, vouchers, etc.

News release from Middle Tennessee State University

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Tennessee voters dislike Obamacare and want it repealed, but not until they’ve seen details of a replacement plan, the latest MTSU Poll shows.

They also support banning immigration from “terror-prone regions” but think illegal immigrants already here should be able to stay and apply for citizenship, and they split about evenly over believing, doubting or not knowing what to think about President Donald Trump’s repeated claim, without supplying evidence, that millions of illegal voters prevented him from winning the popular vote during the 2016 election.

“Most of these opinions divide sharply along political party lines,” said Ken Blake, Ph.D., director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. “But there are some perhaps surprising areas of cross-party agreement.”

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MTSU Poll: Trump TN popularity down from election day (opposite of Obama)

News release from Middle Tennessee State University

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Tennessee’s 11 Electoral College votes were an easy win for President Donald Trump in the November 2016 presidential election, with 61 percent of the popular vote in the state. Now though, only a narrow majority of the state’s voters say they approve of the job he has done as president since taking office in January, according to the latest statewide poll from Middle Tennessee State University.

Trump’s Tennessee “hangover” similar to Obama’s Tennessee “honeymoon”

The latest MTSU Poll of 600 registered voters was conducted Feb. 12-16 with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?” the poll found that:

  • 51 percent approve
  • 32 percent disapprove
  • 17 percent don’t know or don’t answer

For comparison, when the spring 2009 MTSU Poll was conducted shortly after Barack Obama took office, it asked whether respondents approved of the job he was doing as president and found that:

  • 53 percent approved
  • 27 percent disapproved
  • 20 percent didn’t know or didn’t answer

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MTSU Poll: 38% back Haslam on gas tax, 28% oppose, 33% don’t know

News release from Middle Tennessee State University

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — About a third of Tennessee voters support Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to fund road projects through a plan that would increase fuel taxes while cutting grocery and other taxes, but fewer oppose it, and many remain undecided, according to the latest MTSU Poll.

“Support for the plan is fairly low among voters, but that’s not the whole story,” said Ken Blake, Ph.D., director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. “In a pattern reminiscent of attitudes toward the governor’s ‘Insure Tennessee’ plan two years ago, opposition is fairly low as well, many have read or heard little about the issue and simply have no opinion yet, and support for the plan rises markedly among those who have the most information about it.”

The latest MTSU Poll of 600 registered voters was conducted Feb. 12-16 with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

In other findings, 57 percent approve of Haslam’s job performance, 50 percent approve of the job the Tennessee General Assembly is doing, and about half of state voters want another Republican to succeed Haslam. By comparison, more like a quarter would prefer a Democratic governor.

Support mixed for gas tax increase

When the current poll asked state voters about the governor’s “proposal to pay for road projects by raising taxes on gas and diesel fuel while cutting other taxes, including taxes on groceries”:

  • 38 percent expressed support.
  • 28 percent were opposed, a significantly smaller proportion.
  • 33 percent said they weren’t sure.
  • The remaining 1 percent declined to answer.

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GOP operative trashes TEA school voucher poll

In a memo prepared by the polling firm OnMessage and sent to Republican legislators, veteran GOP political operative Ward Baker seeks to debunk a Tennessee Education Association memo sent to all legislators earlier declaring that its polling shows a majority of Republican voters oppose school vouchers. (The TEA press release is posted HERE.)

The email subject line says “The TEA Poll is Hogwash.” Baker’s introductory remarks:

Like many of you, I had a feeling that the “poll” announced by the teachers union looked sketchy. It is. It’s about as accurate as me saying I have hair like Willie Nelson. (Note: Baker is bald.) The team at OnMessage, Inc., who has a long history of reliable polling in Tennessee and national politics, have put together the attached analysis that explains exactly why it cannot be trusted as a reliable poll. Bottom line: Political scientists, consultants, and polling firms worth their salt know that any poll is useless if you randomly aggregate data over the course of seven months the way that TEA did.

While I was at the NRSC, we used serious pollsters and none of them would sign their name to what the TEA is peddling. They are clearly trying to manipulate legislators for their own agenda with fake polling. The “poll” saying four out of five dentists use Trident is more reliable than this hogwash.

The full memo is available by clicking on this link: tea-memo


Poll: Tennesseans evenly divided on Trump travel ban

Start of a news release from icitizen after a Feb. 1-9 poll of 492 Tennessee adults:

Tennesseans have a clear split down the middle when it comes to issues of immigration, refugees, and values. Differences in age, gender, and partisan identification amplify this divide. “Independents” tip the scale in opposition to Trump’s executive actions:

Tennesseans are split down the middle when it comes to the travel ban. Fifty percent support this executive action while 49% oppose. Opposition is strongest among non-white Tennesseans (77%) and women ages 18-49 (66%).A majority (59%) of Tennesseans support accepting refugees to the United States, with 40% who oppose.

A majority (50%) percent of Tennesseans believe the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees into the country, with 47% who believe the U.S. does not have a responsibility.

Tennesseans are split down the middle when it comes to opinions on the border wall with Mexico, with 50% who favor building the wall and 49% who oppose. Six in 10 Independents oppose the border wall with Mexico.

Nearly three-quarters of Tennesseans (74%) believe race relations in the United States are getting worse. This sentiment is strong among both white Tennesseans (75%) and non-white Tennesseans (70%).

Note: Full release and more on details of the poll HERE.

TEA polling: Most Tennesseans don’t want school vouchers

News release from Tennessee Education Association

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennesseans strongly reject private school vouchers, according to the largest and most comprehensive polling data on the subject. TEA extensively surveyed rural, urban and suburban voters in all three Grand Divisions of the state, with an oversample of highly-likely Republican primary voters. The polls were conducted May through October of 2016.
Of the 6,510 respondents, 59.5 percent rejected private school vouchers, 29 percent approved. The two-to-one negative opinion was consistent across geographic and demographic groups. The polling margin of error is +/- 4 percent.
“I’ve rarely seen such a strong negative opinion. It is clear Tennesseans do not like or want school vouchers,” said Jim Wrye, TEA Government Relations manager. “We are a conservative state that values our local traditions and institutions. Vouchers are a radical idea that attack and weaken the foundation of our communities — our public schools.”

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Poll finds 28 percent GOP support for gas tax increase, 15 percent opposed

Tennesseans for Conservative Action, a “voter education” group set up in 2015 by Republican political activists/lobbyists Mark Braden and Gregory Gleaves, has issued some findings from a poll of 600 “reliably Republican voters” on a proposed state fuel tax increase.

Here’s the summary version on that one issue:

Gas Tax: Governor Haslam has proposed a tax increase of 7 cents on each gallon of gasoline. Which of the following most closely matches your current feelings on the proposed bill?

21%: Support the gas tax increase to fund road improvements to ensure TN’s roads will be safer

7%: Support the gas tax increase to fund road improvements to ease traffic in my community

53% We should spend the $1 billion surplus before raising taxes.

15% I oppose the gas tax no matter what.

The poll covered other areas — Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have high approval ratings, but not as high as Donald Trump. And 52 percent the surveyed Republicans indicated support for medical marijuana.

The full news release (which has no details on questions or methodology)  is HERE.

Note: A 2015 post on launching of TCA is HERE. (Robin Smith advises she is no longer active in the group.)

Poll: Most Tennesseans support using gas tax money for bicycling and hiking trails

A poll commissioned by groups that promote bicycling and hiking indicates that most Tennesseans support an increase in the state gas tax and using some of the resulting revenue for biking and walking trails as well as highway construction and maintenance.

Gov. Bill Haslam, of course, has for two years been promoting revenue enhancement for the highway system and says he’ll finally present a plan before his state-of-the-state speech on Jan. 30.

The poll was conducted by the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation in the Social Work Office of Research & Public Service at the University of Tennessee for Bike Walk Tennessee and the Rails to Trails Conservancy. It involved a survey of 762 registered Tennessee voters in October, the groups said in a press release.

Of those surveyed, 63.8 percent said they believe more money is needed in the state’s transportation system overall and 57 percent said more money should go to biking and walking trails and public transit systems as well as to roads and bridges.

“Support for this multimodal approach is highest in small cities (64.1%), followed by towns and large cities (58.7% each), rural non-farm areas (53.6%), and small towns (50.4%),” says a summary of the poll results.

Note: The executive summary of the poll is HERE; the news release HERE.

Vanderbilt poll: Most TN voters happy with Trump, even more with Haslam

News release from Vanderbilt University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, registered voters in Tennessee are more optimistic about the future of the state and the country than six months earlier, according to the latest statewide Vanderbilt Poll – a survey conducted twice a year by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. The poll asked a wide range of questions, including items on key policies facing the state and the popularity of the leadership of state. One of the most noteworthy findings is that Tennesseans remain supportive of an increase in the sales tax for a gallon of gasoline sold in the state.

The poll of 1,005 registered voters in Tennessee was taken Nov. 14-29 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Favorability ratings are also up for most officials. Gov. Bill Haslam, who did not publicly support Trump, has an approval rating of 68 percent. Approval ratings are 60 percent for each of the state’s two U.S. senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker – a jump of more than 10 percentage points from last May. The legislature also has a 60 percent approval rating.

“Gov. Haslam is arguably the most popular governor in the country,” says John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science. “He is governing in this era of polarization in a way that isn’t polarizing. He needs to get credit for that. Some may have thought his concerns about Trump’s candidacy would have hurt him with Republicans and members of the Tea Party. But that is not the case.” The Vanderbilt Poll has been tracking the growth of the Tea Party influence in Tennessee.

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New TN poll: Trump 44%, Clinton 34%, Johnson 7%

News release from icitizen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 20, 2016) – In the latest statewide poll released by polling company icitizen, Donald Trump solidly remains the favorite presidential candidate among registered voters in Tennessee.

According to the results, the presidential ballot stands with Donald Trump (44%), Hillary Clinton (34%), Gary Johnson (7%), Jill Stein (2%), someone else (5%), undecided (8%).

“Trump has a commanding lead despite underperforming among his party base,” said icitizen Polling Analyst Cynthia Villacis. “He has support from only 79% of Republicans and 68% of conservatives, but his standing is elevated significantly by a 17-point lead among Independents, an 18-point lead among men and a 20-point lead among seniors. Whether Trump carries Tennessee in November may rest on the Independent vote at the ballot box.”

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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