A new poll first reported on Monday morning by Brian Wilson, host of 99.7 FM WTN’s Nashville’s Morning News, shows that likely voters in Nashville/Davidson County oppose the proposed $9 billion transit plan on the May 1 ballot by more than a 2 to 1 margin, 62 percent against to 28 percent in favor, with only 10 percent undecided.
The Tennessee Star Poll of 607 likely voters in Nashville/Davidson County was conducted by Triton Research over a two day period between Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13 in an automated telephone (IVR) survey and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
When asked “If the election was held today, would you vote for or against the $9 billion Transit Plan and Tax?” poll respondents answered as follows:
62.4 percent said “Against the Transit Plan”
27.9 percent said “For the Transit Plan”
9.7 percent said “Don’t Know/Not sure”
Voter interest in the May 1 Davidson County primary election and the referendum on the transit tax was high among the 607 poll respondents, all of whom were registered voters residing in Davidson County.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they “always vote,” 20 percent said they were “very likely” to vote on May 1, 14 percent said they were “likely” to vote on May 1, and 3 percent said they were “somewhat likely” to vote on May 1.
Opposition to the Nashville Transit Plan increased even further among respondents when respondents were asked later in the poll how a sales tax increase–a key element of the plan up for consideration on the May 1 ballot– would influence their vote.
When asked “Would you support or oppose a sales tax increase in Nashville to pay for a light rail transit system and expansion of bus lines?” 66.5 percent of poll respondents said “No, I oppose increasing the sales tax to pay for light rail and more buses,” while 25 percent said “Yes, I support increasing the sales tax to pay for light rail and more buses.”
“The responses to the two separate poll questions regarding the Transit Plan itself and whether voters would support or oppose paying higher sales taxes to support light rail and expanded bus seem to confirm that voter opposition to the Transit plan is consistent and also that they understand what that plan is all about,” conservative political strategist Steve Gill pointed out.
“I suspect that the pro-Transit group has done their own polling. The fact that their results have not been released or leaked probably indicates that their numbers reflect the same level of opposition to the tax increase that the Triton poll shows,” Gill noted.
“However,” Gill quickly said, “while voters may have a pretty clear opinion against the Transit plan, the real question is whether the supporters or opponents are more successful in turning out their votes. What people think matters less than whether they actually turn out to vote how they think.”
Forty-six percent of poll respondents self-identified as Democrats, 35 percent self-identified as Republicans, and 19 percent self-identified as Independent or other.
Sixty-eight percent of poll respondents self-identified as White/Caucasion, 16 percent self-identified as African-American, 4 percent as another race, 2 percent as Hispanic, and 1 percent as Asian. Eight percent said they preferred not to answer.
In terms of geographic residence within Davidson County, 71 percent were residents of Nashville, with the remaining 29 percent residing in the following areas:
7 percent Antioch
5 percent Hermitage
5 percent Madison
3 percent Old Hickory
3 percent Goodlettsville
2 percent Cane Ridge
1.6 percent Brentwood
1 percent Joelton
0.4 percent Mount Juliet
0.3 percent Whites Creek
Early voting for the May 1 transit plan referendum began Tuesday, April 10, and will continue until Thursday, April 26.
The Tennessee Star Poll also asked likely voters in Nashville/Davidson their preferences in the May 24 special election for Mayor of Nashville.
Brian Wilson will report those results exclusively on 99.7 FM WTN’s Nashville’s Morning News at 7:35 a.m. Monday.