Vandy Poll: Trump approval at 52 percent in TN (same as Corker; bit ahead of Alexander)

Some findings in a Vanderbilt University poll of 1,005 Tennessee voters, conducted May 4-15:

-President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 52 percent, about 10 points higher than President Obama’s approval rating in a late November 2016 poll. He carried the state with 61 percent of the vote last November. Responding to a separate question on whether they believe Trump will change things for the better, 41 percent said yes and 54 percent said no.

-Among announced and potential candidate for governor, Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black had the highest name recognition, 49 percent followed by Democrat Karl Dean, former Nashville mayor at 38 percent. Others: House Speaker Beth Harwell 34 percent; , Sen. Mae Beavers 28 percent, former ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd 26 percent; Sen. Mark Green 21 percent, businessman Bill Lee of Franklin and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, both 14 percent, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, 8 percent.

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 — Tennessee voters dislike Obamacare and want it repealed, but not until they’ve seen details of a replacement plan, the latest MTSU Poll shows.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

NFIB survey finds slim majority opposed to Haslam’s gas tax

News release from National Federation of Independent Business

NASHVILLE, Feb. 13, 2017—Tennessee members of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small-business association, are giving mixed reviews of Governor’s Haslam’s proposed IMPROVE Act, which includes an increase in the state gasoline and diesel taxes.

“NFIB’s policy positions are based on the direct input of our members,” said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB. “When we surveyed our members this month about the governor’s Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy Act, there really was no clear consensus, at least on the question of a tax increase.”

When asked if they support or oppose a proposed seven-cent increase in the gas tax and 12-cent increase in the diesel tax, 55 percent of NFIB members responding to the survey oppose, 40 percent support, and 5 percent are undecided.

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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.


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

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