A new Tennessee Star/Triton poll reveals that Nashville voters have three top concerns: Traffic and road congestion, quality of schools and rising crime and violence. When asked their second-biggest concern, survey respondents had the same three issues at the top of their lists.
550 likely voters in Davidson County were asked: What do you think is the most important issue that our community needs to focus upon? 24.7% said traffic and road congestion; 22.9% said the quality of schools and 19% ranked rising crime/violence at the top of their list. Affordable housing was a top concern for 11.6%, with creating more and better jobs (7.6%), illegal immigration (6.9%), and high property/sales taxes (5.2%) rounding out the list. 3.7% were not sure or didn’t know.
When asked the second-most important issue the numbers were remarkably similar. 26% said traffic and road congestion; 20% said the quality of schools and 20.2% ranked rising crime/violence as their second top concern. Affordable housing was a major secondary concern for 13.1%, with high property/sales taxes (5.8%), illegal immigration (5.6%) with creating more and better jobs (5.1%) further down the list of issues. 2.6% were not sure or didn’t know.
Two other questions in the survey underline the fact that illegal immigration is not a particularly “hot” issue for Nashville voters, at least compared to the other topics that concern them. Asked whether “immigration and the arrival of new immigrant groups changed the area where you live, or not?” in recent years, 43.6 said “a lot” or “some”, while 54.1% said “not much” or “not at all.” Only 2.3% were undecided.
The likely voters were also asked: Regardless of your own opinion, do most of the people in your neighborhood think the arrival of immigrants to your community have made the community better or worse?
24.3% said their neighbors would say immigration has made they community “better”; 29.7% said “worse”; 24.5% said “no difference.” 21.6% chose to respond “not sure/don’t know” — which may reflect a reluctance to answer. This question produced the highest undecided response of any of the issues-related questions.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill notes that the high level of concern over quality of schools may have been higher than usual in the survey due to the recent media coverage of the legislative battle over Education Savings Accounts/vouchers, the disputes within the Metro School Board and removal of Superintendent Shawn Joseph, the timing of the poll coinciding with end of year exams and graduations. “Education and schools will always rank high,” Gill said, “but it may have received a bump in this poll.”
The continued rise of violent crime in Nashville and surrounding suburban counties is clearly on the minds of voters, Gill added. “Law and order, community safety, and juvenile crime in particular will be key issues in this year’s Mayoral race and in next year’s legislative races,” he pointed out. Elected officials who seem to ignore that issue will pay for it at the polls.”
The Tennessee Star/Triton poll was conducted April 29-May 1, 2019 and surveyed the opinions of 550 likely voters in Davidson County with a margin of error of 4.2%. The full topline of the poll can be viewed below.
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