A new Triton poll finds decidedly liberal Davidson County is solidly against Mayor John Cooper’s proposed 32 percent property tax hike.
The poll is available here. It was conducted last Thursday and Friday by Triton Polling & Research and was paid for by Nashville Smart, a local 501(c)(4).
Lonnie Spivak, an election expert, is with Nashville Smart. He spoke with The Tennessee Star about the poll Monday.
On Monday, Spivak said Nashville Smart, as a 501(c)(4), has no position on whether the tax increase should pass, and that it commissioned the poll for informational purposes.
“We wanted to judge what the public opinion of the tax increase is going into the budget season,” Spivak said. “Metro Council doesn’t have the resources to poll.”
The Triton poll sampled 769 registered voters, with 53.5 percent identifying as Democrat, 28.8 percent Republican, 15.3 percent Independent and 2.4 percent Not Sure/Undecided.
Mayor Cooper had a 47.1 percent favorable rating, 25.6 percent unfavorable, and 25.7 had heard of him but had no opinion.
Regarding Cooper’s proposed property tax hike, 25.5 percent said they were for it and 64.8 percent were against it.
Spivak said that not only did a low number of people support the proposed tax increase but the same group who opposed the tax increase felt Cooper is doing a good job with his COVID-19 response (66.4 percent). So, the respondents are not against Cooper — just his tax increase.
The poll did not bode well for Metro Council members who may support the property tax hike.
The poll asked would the respondent be more likely or less likely to support a council member who supported the tax hike: 20.2 percent said more likely, while 58.5 percent said less likely.
Spivak said that 67.2 percent said the proposed tax increase would hurt affordable housing.
He said the poll used a couple of control questions to validate the results, and the numbers were “right on.”
Meanwhile, the Triton poll contrasts with the most recent annual Vanderbilt Poll-Nashville, which found that Cooper has an 80 percent approval rating, the highest of any mayor since the poll began, The Star reported last week.
Only 19 percent of respondents said they identify as Republicans. Another 45 percent of respondents said they identify as Democrats, while 26 percent said they are Independents and 10 percent said they are “something else.” Only 21 percent said their political views are “very conservative” or “conservative,” compared to 30 percent who said they are “liberal” or “very liberal.”
The Vanderbilt poll has long been accused of leaning left and underreporting Republicans’ chances in elections — such as saying Donald Trump was leading Hillary Clinton in Tennessee by 11 points, when he won by 26.
Perhaps Vanderbilt’s poll is a product of its board members’ worldviews. Members include José González, co-founder of Conexion Americas (illegal immigration advocacy), Tom Ingram (owner of the Nashville soccer franchise and the effort to build a stadium at the Nashville Fairgrounds and a donor to former Mayor David Briley); former Al Gore adviser Roy M. Neel; and Lisa Quigley, chief of staff for Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (Mayor John Cooper’s brother).
Read the poll’s topline findings:
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.