Vandy Poll: Trump leads Clinton in TN, 44 percent to 35 percent

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a 9 percentage point lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tennessee, according to a Vanderbilt University poll released Thursday.

The survey found Trump with support from 44 percent and Clinton with 35 percent of the 1,001 registered voters polled. Thirteen percent said they were either undecided or said they wouldn’t support either candidate.

Of those who said they didn’t plan to vote for either Trump or Clinton, 42 percent were Republicans and 22 percent were Democrats.

The survey also found that 48 percent of Tennessee voters oppose a temporary ban on all Muslims traveling to the United States that has been espoused by Trump, while about 40 percent would support one.

Asked if they would support increased law enforcement patrols of Muslim neighborhoods, 44 percent said yes, while 32 percent said no.

Trump had a 51 percent to 31 percent lead among men, while support for Clinton was tied at 39 percent among both men and women.

The poll also surveyed voter attitudes toward issues considered in the recently concluded session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

About six out of 10 voters support a new law allowing faculty and staff at public universities to be armed on campus.

Voters were equally split at 47 percent on whether they consider it constitutional to make a bill to make the Bible the official state book of Tennessee.

Lawmakers in both chambers narrowly passed the Bible bill, but Republican Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed the measure. An attempt to override the veto failed in the House toward the end of this year’s legislative session.

Opponents said it would trivialize what they consider to be a sacred text to place it alongside other Tennessee symbols such as the official state reptile, rock and fruit.

About 50 percent of those surveyed disagreed that it would make light of the Bible to make it the official state book, while 38 percent said it would.

One issue that didn’t come to a vote this year was the state’s first gas tax hike since 1989. Haslam has cited a $6 billion backlog in road building and maintenance projects in Tennessee, but lawmakers were unwilling to take up the gas tax in an election year.

The poll asked voters whether they would be willing to pay more at the pump if it meant that more could be spent on improving roads and bridges. About half of the voters said they would support an increase of 8, 12 or 16 cents.

The poll also showed that support for Haslam’s failed Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income people remains largely unchanged at 63 percent.

Lawmakers rejected Haslam’s proposal in a special session last year amid fears that it was tied too closely to President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Thirty-nine percent said they would support efforts to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage, while 50 percent said they would oppose it.

The telephone poll was conducted from April 25 to May 11 has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.