A growing majority of Tennesseans support expansion of Medicaid within the state though most at the same time have an unfavorable impression of the federal law that authorizes expansion, according to a Vanderbilt University poll released Tuesday.
About 63 percent of the state’s registered voters have a favorable opinion of Gov. Bill Haslam, who has tentatively rejected Medicaid expansion. That’s down five points from six months ago, though Vanderbilt pollsters said the decline is “statistically insignificant” given the poll’s four point margin of error.
The survey of 813 registered voters, taken May 6-13, found solid approval for the state’s two U.S. Senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, while a more narrow 51 percent said they like the Tennessee General Assembly with its Republican “supermajority.”
Opinions were mixed on whether state sales tax collection for internet sales should be enforced. When asked if online sales taxes was bad idea, 55 percent agreed with 38 saying it was a good idea. But when the question was framed as to whether it’s fair for in-state retailers to collect the taxes while out-of-state retailers do not, the result was a 47-47 percent tie.
News release from Middle Tennessee State University:
Tennessee than nearly anywhere else in the country, but the state’s proposed “don’t say gay” law has little support, the latest MTSU Poll indicates.
“Though Tennesseans may be fairly characterized as extremely opposed to same-sex marriage at this point, whether and how homosexuality should be addressed in public schools is a very different matter,” said Dr. Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.
A solid 62 percent majority of Tennesseans oppose “allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally,” while 28 percent are in favor, 6 percent don’t know, and the rest decline to answer, according to the poll.
This nearly two-thirds opposition in Tennessee to legalizing gay marriage is significantly higher than the 43 percent opposition registered nationally in surveys throughout 2012 by the Pew Center for the People and the Press1. It is higher even than the 56 percent opposition Pew found to be typical in 2012 of the South Central region that includes Tennessee as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Tennessee Hospital Association released a poll showing a majority of residents want expansion, reports WPLN. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to the hospital association’s poll said the state should accept federal dollars to expand it’s health insurance program for the poor as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act.
THA president Craig Becker says he’s also seen a softening among state lawmakers.
“We started with many of our legislators back in the summertime with basically a ‘hell no.’ Now we’ve moved ourselves much closer I think where they’re willing to be open to hear what we have to say.”
Becker claims some rural facilities could close. Because of cuts, he says hospitals need the hundreds of thousands of paying customers Medicaid expansion would provide.
Democrats are also now pushing for an up or down vote. They say they’re tired of waiting for Governor Bill Haslam to make a decision
— Note: News release below.
News release from Vanderbilt University:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee’s Bill Haslam is a remarkably popular Republican governor during a politically divisive time in the nation’s history, making him a politician to watch, says a Vanderbilt University political scientist.
Haslam has a 68 percent job approval rating, according to new analysis of data from a Vanderbilt Poll conducted late last year. In comparison, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has received a surge of national attention for his actions and comments in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, has a 67 percent job approval rating in his home state, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
Taking into account margin of errors for the polls, Christie and Haslam are in “a dead heat” as far as popularity ratings in their respective states, said John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt.
“But Christie’s popularity is inflated due to the aftermath of Sandy,” Geer said. “And so even with that jump in popularity, he and Haslam are tied. Prior to Sandy, Christie’s approval was about 20 points lower. So within that context, Haslam is doing amazingly well.”
Haslam also has more support from across the aisle than Christie, picking up 60 percent approval from Democratic voters. “In today’s polarized environment, these data,” Geer contends, “are really eye popping.” Christie has a 40 percentage point gap between Democrats and Republicans even with the post Sandy bounce and Haslam’s is half that. Haslam also enjoys equal support among men and women, which again is highly unusual in today’s politics.
“Overall, these are the kind of numbers that are likely to draw the attention of Republicans and Democrats nationally as discussion heats up about the 2016 presidential election,” contends Geer.
The Vanderbilt Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. More information is available online at the website of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt.
Democratic President Barack Obama won a bit more than 39 percent of the vote in losing Tennessee to Republican Mitt Romney last month. After the same election, however, Democrats hold just 21 percent of state Senate seats and 28 percent of state House seats.
Why the discrepancy? The most likely suspect, in a word: redistricting. The GOP controlled reapportionment this year for the first time since Reconstruction and when the election arrived, increased the majorities they had already under the old Democratic-engineered districts.
In the Senate, Democrats were reduced to seven of 33 seats; in the House, to 28 of 99.
Now, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey had some additional thoughts when asked about this the other day, the gist being that the Republican legislative election machinery is superior not only to its Democratic counterpart, but also to the GOP presidential campaign.
“We ran a campaign and he (Romney) didn’t,” said Ramsey. “It’s all about organization.”
But he conceded redistricting was a factor.
Both national presidential campaigns ignored Tennessee equally, Democrats writing it off and Republicans taking it for granted. So that playing field was pretty level.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A new Vanderbilt University poll shows a strong preference among Tennesseans for a state-run health insurance exchange over one run by the federal government.
The poll of 829 registered voters released Wednesday showed 53 percent favor the state-run exchange, while 33 percent prefer the federal approach.
The results contrast with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s decision earlier this week not to pursue a state-run exchange. Vanderbilt officials said the governor was not aware of the poll results before Wednesday’s release.
Haslam’s office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Meanwhile, a pending decision over whether to expand Medicaid was much more evenly divided among poll respondents: 47 percent said they support an expansion, while 46 oppose it.
Haslam has said he will decide the Medicaid issue sometime in the spring.
UPDATE: Here’s a quote from Haslam’s press secretary, David Smith, on the healthcare exchange finding: “The governor weighed all of the information and made a business decision. He understood throughout the process that there were strong opinions on both sides of the issue but removed politics from his decision making.”
— Note: Here’s the Vanderbilt news release on the poll:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new poll from Vanderbilt University shows that Tennessee voters prefer that the state run the online health care exchange required by the federal Affordable Health Care Act, with Republicans more adamant about the issue than voters as a whole.
That sentiment reflected by the Vanderbilt Poll conflicts with the actions of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. He informed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dec. 10 that Tennessee is declining to create and run the exchange, an online marketplace where state residents can shop for health coverage. That means the federal government will step in and do it.
“If a health care exchange must be created, the voters of Tennessee place more trust in the state than the federal government to do it,” said John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt. “And Republicans are even more trusting of the state to run the health care exchange than Democrats. That may be a surprise to some, but it makes sense since Republicans have long had more faith in state governments than Democrats.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A recent poll shows Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has strong bipartisan support among Tennessee voters.
The Middle Tennessee State University poll shows Haslam has a 76 percent approval rating among independents heading into the third year of his term, 75 percent of Republicans like what he’s doing, and 54 percent of Democrats approve.
More than two in three voters, or 68 percent, say they approve of the way Haslam is handling his job as governor. Fourteen percent disapprove, and 16 percent say they don’t know.
Jason Reineke, the poll’s associate director, said Haslam’s numbers are impressive “considering the partisan climate regarding national politics.”
Poll director Ken Blake said the governor’s high bipartisan support is similar to that of his predecessor, Gov. Phil Bredesen.
“Both men have tended to govern from the political center while steering clear of hot-button social issues,” Blake said.
The recent poll showed Haslam was less popular with African-American voters. Forty-seven percent expressed approval of his job performance, compared to 22 percent who expressed disapproval, and 31 percent who said they weren’t sure.
The poll conducted last month surveyed 650 registered voters. It has an error margin of plus or minus four percentage points.
Republican Mitt Romney leads President Obama by 25 points in Tennessee, according to a new Middle Tennessee State University poll.
The telephone poll of 650 registered voters, conducted Oct. 16-21, found Romney supported by 59 percent versus just 34 percent for the Democratic incumbent with 6 percent undecided.
That would be substantially larger than Republican John McCain’s 15-point victory, 56-41 percent, in Tennessee’s 2008 presidential voting. It is also bigger margin for Romney than in earlier Tennessee this year. A Vanderbilt University poll in May had Romney leading 47-40 percent while a YouGov poll earlier in October had Romney leading 52-43 percent.
The MTSU poll showed 61 percent of those surveyed were white evangelical voters and, among such voters, Romney leads Obama 74-21 percent.
Only 12 percent of those surveyed were black. Among them, Obama had 91 percent support, MTSU reported.
n the U.S. Senate race, the poll found incumbent Republican Bob Corker leading Democrat Mark Clayton, who has been disavowed by his own party, by a 59 percent to 21 percent in the poll with about 12 percent undecided.
The full MTSU news release is below.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Davidson County election training session is coming under scrutiny for teaching poll workers to challenge voters they believe may not be U.S. citizens.
Davidson County Election Commissioner Eddie Bryan, a Democrat, told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/R1l8yV) he believed the training was designed to block immigrants from legally voting.
But Republican election officials said it was designed to teach poll workers how to deal with a potential challenge.
Under the state’s Challenge the Right to Vote Act, poll workers may ask a voter to take an oath that they have the right to vote. Those refusing the oath cannot vote.
The training last month told poll workers that citizenship requires the ability to read, write and speak basic English, but it noted exceptions for immigrants over 50 and those with impairments.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney gets a majority of the votes of likely voters over Democratic President Barack Obama in Tennessee, 52% Romney to 43% Obama, in a YouGov poll of 484 likely voters from the Volunteer state (recontacted from an initial September poll).
Tennessee’s likely voters are moderately partisan in their approach, with 86% of Democrats sticking with Obama, and 86% of Republicans voting for Romney.
Romney has a strong lead among likely voters who are Independents, 57% Romney-35% Obama.
Women in Tennessee slightly favor the challenger, 51% Romney-45% Obama, while men favor the challenger, 53%-41%.
Romney leads in Middle Tennessee (59%-37%), East Tennessee (56%-37%) and the Nashville area (56%-40%), while Obama leads in the Memphis area and West Tennessee (62%-34%)
The oldest likely voters in Tennessee age 65+ favor Romney over Obama (59% Romney-36% Obama), and Romney also leads among Tennessee’s Baby Boomers, but by a narrower 53%-42% margin. Obama leads among likely voters age 30-44, 55% Obama-38% Romney.
Romney maintains a solid, albeit narrowing lead among Tennessee likely voters who are Independents, where Romney was leading 56%-28% in September with this key swing group, and Romney leads, 57%-35% among these same Independent likely voters today.
…Incumbent Republican Senator Bob Corker holds a 48%-27% lead over Democratic Senate challenger Mark Clayton.
The full report HERE.