The Tennessee Star Poll of 1,007 likely Republican primary voters shows that by a wide margin, 48 percent to 29 percent, they are “more likely to support” a gubernatorial candidate who supports a repeal of the 6 cents per gallon gas tax increase and 10 cents per gallon diesel tax increased passed by the Tennessee General Assembly and signed by Gov. Haslam last month.
When asked “Are you more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for governor who promises to repeal this gas tax increase if elected?” 48.1 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they were more likely to support such a candidate while 29.8 percent said they were less likely to support that candidate:
24.3% Much more likely to support
23.8% Somewhat more likely to support
16.5% Somewhat less likely to support
13.3% Much less likely to support
22.1% Not sure/don’t know
That is good news for State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), the only one of the three announced candidates who supports repeal of the gas tax increase. In fact, at her announcement on Saturday, Beavers declared repeal of the gas tax increase will be one of her top priorities, if she is elected Governor of Tennessee in November 2018.
“As more people get all of the details about the gas tax increase, versus the small targeted cuts primarily to businesses, I think they will realize it was not a fair swap,” Beavers tells The Tennessee Star.
“And, as they find out we have a $2 billion surplus, with $148 million coming in above revenue projections for just April, they will be even more inclined to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who will repeal the gas tax increase,” Beavers adds.
Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, who announced his candidacy for governor in March, “dodged taking a position on Gov. Haslam’s controversial proposal to increase the gas tax by 7 cents [reduced to 6 cents prior to passage] per gallon to fund more road construction,” as The Star reported at the time:
“In terms of the ongoing discussion on the state’s infrastructure needs, which has led to Haslam proposing a gas tax increase, Boyd said he preferred to let the governor and the Legislature move forward with their efforts,” the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
“The only thing I would say is they must come up with a solution . . . It has to be solved. We are underfunding our roads,” Boyd told the News Sentinel.
The Star asked the Boyd campaign for comment on the gas tax increase poll results, but did not receive a response.
Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, who announced his candidacy for governor in April, said at the time that the gas tax increase was “water under the bridge.”
As The Star reported:
He said he might have handled it differently, but noted that the IMPROVE Act also included tax cuts and said the bill is “water under the bridge now.” When pressed, he said that because he wasn’t privy to all the legislative discussions surrounding the bill, he didn’t want to comment further.
The Star also asked the Lee campaign for comment on the gas tax increase poll results. The campaign responded that they would provide a response, but possibly not by the deadline for publication of the story. Their response will be included as an UPDATE when it arrives.
Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, which contained the gas tax increases, easily passed in the State Senate, but faced a heated battle in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
In the key House vote, the gas tax increase bill passed 60 to 37, with 37 Republicans supporting it and 35 Republicans opposing it, as The Star reported at the time:
House Majority Leader State Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) did not vote.
Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) was among the Republicans who voted yes.
State Rep. John Mark Windle and State Rep. G.A. Hardway were the lone Democrat who voted no.
Conservatives have vowed to make their support of the gas tax increase a key rallying cry in the August 2018 primaries against those Republicans in the House who voted for the gas tax increase.
Among those considered as targets are State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma), chairman of the House Transportation Committee who broke House rules to jam the Governor’s gas tax increase through , State Rep. Sam Whitson (R-Franklin), and State Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg), who broke his promise to voters that he would oppose a gas tax increase.
The poll is not entirely bad news for Republican gubernatorial candidates and members of the Tennessee General Assembly who supported the gas tax increase, as there is a statistical tie between supporters of the gas tax increase and opponents among likely Republican primary voters.
When asked ” Recently the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill, signed into law by Gov. Haslam, to increase the gas tax by 6 cents per gallon and the diesel tax by 10 cents per gallon, to fund road construction. Do you support or oppose this gas tax increase?” 47.7 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they supported the gas tax increase while 46.8 percent said the opposed the gas tax increase. The 0.9 percent differential is within the 3.1 percent margin of error of the poll, which makes it a statistical tie:
20.8% Strongly support
26.9% Somewhat support
18.1% Somewhat oppose
28.7% Strongly oppose
5.5% Don’t know/unsure
In previous stories on the results of the recent poll of likely Tennessee Republican primary voters, The Star reported that President Trump’s approval is sky high, no gubernatorial candidate has more than 10 percent support and the race is wide open, Senator Bob Corker’s re-election bid is in trouble, Rep. Marsha Blackburn is statistically tied in a one-on-one matchup with Senator Corker in a potential 2018 Republican U.S. Senate primary, and that opposition to in-state tuition for illegal aliens is close to unanimous: 84 percent to 11 percent.
The Tennessee Star Poll also asked likely Tennessee Republican primary voters their views on another key issue expected to play a role in the 2018 Gubernatorial campaign: “Constitutional Carry.”
Those results will be released tomorrow.
The poll, which was commissioned by The Tennessee Star and conducted by Triton Polling and Research in an automated (IVR) telephone survey of 1,007 likely Tennessee Republican Primary voters between May 31 and June 5, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.
You can read the poll results for all questions except the final two issues here on pages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, here:
[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Poll1.pdf” title=”Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017″]
[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Poll2.pdf” title=”Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017″]
[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Poll3Qgas.pdf” title=”Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017″]
[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Poll4all.pdf” title=”Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017″]
[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Poll5.pdf” title=”Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017″]