The AJC ran a couple of stories recently reporting the results of an opinion poll regarding the T-SPLOST referendum. My colleague Jim Galloway posted the cross tabs for the poll Monday, and a lot of the findings are predictable — e.g., self-identified Republicans are less likely to support a tax increase.
The most interesting finding in my view, however, was on a question that would seem to have nothing to do with partisanship or ideology: How often are you inconvenienced by traffic congestion?
Here are the results:
Daily — 28%; A Few Days a Week — 34%; Rarely — 27%; Never — 11%
Daily — 17%; A Few Days a Week — 26%; Rarely — 42%; Never — 15%
Daily — 21%; A Few Days a Week — 49%; Rarely — 27%; Never — 2%
I was shocked by the difference between traffic problems for Democrats and Independents and those for Republicans. There are as many GOPers who say they rarely are inconvenienced by traffic as there are who say it happens daily or a few times a week. Frequent traffic jams confront 62 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Independents, but only 43 percent of Republicans.
According to the poll, Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans and almost three times as likely as Independents to use mass transit regularly, so it’s not that Republicans are using other commuting options in greater numbers. And we know from voting patterns that counties like Cobb, Cherokee, Gwinnett and Fayette, as well as North Fulton — places where you’d expect commutes to be worst — are heavily Republican.
I guess a lot of retirees may have identified as Republicans. But enough to account for such a large difference?
Any other ideas out there? And could it be that, besides being generally anti-tax, metro Atlanta Republicans might oppose the T-SPLOST because traffic simply isn’t as big of a problem for them?
– By Kyle Wingfield