Opinion polls for the presidential race, even when broken down by state, are too far out from Election Day to tell us very much. But the T-SPLOST referendum, which is just two weeks away? That’s different — and a few new polls show us where the momentum lies.
First, a Rosetta Stone Communications poll for Channel 2 Action News released last Friday showed the $7.2 billion tax for transportation projects trails 33 percent to 56 percent. That’s minus-23 percentage points, with just 12 percent saying they’re undecided. Here’s the trend for that poll, with the undecided share of the vote remaining constant:
MAY: minus-3 points (42 for, 45 against, 13 undecided)
JUNE: minus-11 points (38-49-13)
JULY: minus-23 points (33-56-12)
Net Change: minus-20 points
Next, internal polling for Untie Atlanta, the pro-tax campaign. The day after Channel 2 reported its May results, Untie Atlanta released an internal poll showing the measure was winning by 15 percentage points. Today, the campaign’s Twitter account quoted Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed saying, “We have a poll that says 38-41.” The AJC is awaiting confirmation from the mayor as to whether this is another internal poll for Untie Atlanta or his own poll. UPDATED at 2:45 p.m.: The poll was done by the same firm, Hill Research Consultants. I can’t say if the same methodology was used, because we’ve gotten little in the way of explanatory information each time, but I infer that we are talking about more or less the same poll in July as in May. If it’s the former so, that means there’s been a significant increase in the undecided vote — and that the trajectory according to the pro-tax side is:
MAY: +15 points (51-36-13)
JULY: minus-3 points (38-41-21)
Net Change: minus-18 points
While those two polls show different starting and ending points for the tax’s popularity, I find it very interesting that the change over time is almost identical to that of Channel 2’s poll.
The only other poll that has tracked the tax’s popularity over time, at least as far as I’m aware, is Survey USA’s poll for 11 Alive News, which reported yesterday that the tax trails by 13 percentage points in metro Atlanta. The arc for that poll is:
FEBRUARY: minus-1 point (36-37-27)
JULY: minus-13 points (36-49-15)
Net Change: minus-12 points
Note that all of the movement in that poll has been from “undecided” to “no.”
To recap: All three of the most recent polls show a double-digit decline in support for the tax so far, and not one of them currently puts support for the tax at even 40 percent.
One important caveat here is that turnout for the referendum is expected to be very low — so anything could happen, depending on which side simply gets its voters to show up on July 31. That said, if the opinion polls are even close to accurate, the multimillion-dollar campaign to promote the tax is shaping up as the biggest bust since Roy Barnes’ 2002 re-election campaign.
– By Kyle Wingfield