One day later, pro-transportation tax forces say their side is winning

On Monday, Channel 2 Action News released an automated poll that put metro Atlanta support for a transportation sales tax at 42 percent – with the measure gaining a bare majority only in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Twenty-four hours later, the campaign arm of the metro Atlanta pro-sales tax campaign released news of its own poll, completed two weeks ago, that shows support for the measure in the winning column at 51 percent.

Jeff Dickerson, spokesman for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, said there was no causal relationship between the two events noted above. But the first paragraph of the memo below – basically a description of the Rosetta Stone/Channel 2 poll – argues otherwise:

TO: Citizens for Transportation Mobility

FROM: David B. Hill, Ph.D., Director [Hill Research Consultants]

DATE: May 21, 2012

SUBJECT: Polling results

From May 6 through May 8, we conducted a telephone poll of 600 voters likely to vote in the July 31 transportation referendum. Our polling used live operators, ensuring the integrity of our results and allowing us to ask questions in a more valid fashion than that used by automated “robo-polls” you may see in the news.

This memorandum summarizes some encouraging (as well as challenging) results of the poll:

1. We are leading on the ballot, with 51 percent voting YES and 36 percent voting NO.

a. The 15-point advantage is significantly greater than our December poll where we led by just 8 points, 48 percent YES to 40 percent NO.

b. Being just over the 50 percent threshold, we need to redouble our efforts to attract undecided and swing voters to our side to ensure victory
2. The intensity factor cuts both ways. NO voters are slightly more likely than YES voters (73 percent versus 69 percent) to say that they definitely will go to the polls and cast a ballot. But YES voters are slightly more likely than NO voters (62 percent versus 58 percent) to say they “feel strongly” about their positions. These two findings suggest that we need to concentrate more effort on turning out our vote.

3. Our current vote share of Democrats is 59 percent YES. Among Republicans, 41 percent are YES voters. A majority of suburbanites, 52 percent, are voting YES.

4. Voters are very concerned about the traffic crisis that the referendum projects seek to resolve. Of those polled, 87% agreed with the statement that “metro Atlanta has a traffic problem and something must be done about it.” Even those not yet voting YES know something must be done about traffic.

5. Our tests of advertising recall suggest that the first wave of TV and radio was very efficient for a relatively modest buy. A significant slice of the electorate is beginning to understand the issue as basically a traffic problem that can be characterized as “tying Atlanta in a knot.”

We will continue monitoring the electorate more frequently as we close in on Election Day.

“Suburbanites” are defined as those voters living outside I-285. No crosstabs or county-by-county breakdowns were made available. No margin of error was stated, but it should be in the +/- 4 to 5 percentage point range — you statisticians out there can correct me if I’m wrong.

“[The poll] shows some progress. It shows that the education campaign is working,” Dickerson said. “We’ve got a lot more work to do. Fifty-one percent isn’t sufficient. “

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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70 comments Add your comment


May 22nd, 2012
5:17 pm

It will all come down to voter turnout, which is why the Legislature scheduled this vote for late July. If it can squeak through with a 2% margin among the 10% likely to show up at the polls, we are all saddled with this huge, ill-directed slush fund from now to eternity. Oh, sorry, ten years, at which point it will be institutionalized and would be too much of a waste to abandon it’s poorly chosen, half complete projects.

If you are going on vacation, please remember to request your absentee ballot early and be sure to make your voice heard.


May 22nd, 2012
5:22 pm

Thousands of people still have questions about the vote and the projects it will support. The Wireside Chats, that will begin June 4, are a series of telephone townhall meetings where voters can ask local officials about the projects on the list. They are the easiest, most convenient way to learn about the vote and what’s in it for you. To register for one or more Wireside Chats, visit


May 22nd, 2012
5:25 pm

A good chunk of this money is going to the beltway to help already filthy rich developers due to payoffs they gave the repubs. They lied about Ga. 400, the stole our high way and made it into a Mercedes land for the rich. Unless they get rail going to all the suburbs this city is doomed to be a parking lot. Notice the nice new tall lights at all the access ramps, they are there to register when you get on and off the highway for new taxes coming supposedly due to the loss of gas taxes for electric cars, these people are dirty rotten stinking liars.


May 22nd, 2012
5:33 pm

You have to pay a fee to buy batteries and tires with all the monies going to the general fund, you have to have your test for smog when 99.9 percent of the people do not touch thier smog equipment, and four dollars of the fee gets kicked back to the state general fund, the air is dirty due to the huge airport next in the city nad the two or three smaller ones. These people lie about everything, look at the payoffs the mayor got for the airport concessions. Say no the this dumb tax and vote these crooks out.

George P. Burdell

May 22nd, 2012
5:42 pm

The Georgia Legislature, GDOT and governor “Deal” cannot be trusted with our money.This TAX will mostly benefit the highway contractors and those who own commercial properties adjacent to improved highways and interchanges. As “Shar” (above) stated – we will all be saddled with this huge, ill-directed slush fund from now to eternity.

If they really mean what they say (”The public supports this!”) they will move the vote to November. If they don’t move the vote to November (when more of the public will be casting votes) then they will prove that they are liars.

Ga Values

May 22nd, 2012
6:03 pm



May 22nd, 2012
6:41 pm

If trusting our state leaders is the question, just remember all the other “fees” that have been collected for specific purposes over the years that go into the state’s general fund to the tune of about $80 million annually: tire fee, hazardous waste fee, Joshua’s law for driver’s education, indigent defense fees, and the list goes on. It’s the same ole bait and switch.

Question Man

May 22nd, 2012
6:41 pm

It’s not possible to believe anything Jeff Dickerson ever says, is it?


May 22nd, 2012
6:46 pm

People remember the lies about Toll Road GA400??????? They lied about GA400, don’t trust them again. That would be foolish.


May 22nd, 2012
6:47 pm


May 22nd, 2012
7:01 pm

That’s right, VOTE NO.


May 22nd, 2012
7:03 pm

I will be voting NO on any tax increase like this one that does not do anything on the north end to relieve traffic. There is no traffic problems on the south side or inside 285.


May 22nd, 2012
7:14 pm

Hard to believe either poll is not biased. But als
o do not think will pass in out lying suburbs. Also, Greg please get help for your anger.


May 22nd, 2012
7:18 pm

T-Splost = “Builders and Developers Welfare and Full Employment Act”


May 22nd, 2012
7:19 pm

Make that Roadbuilders


May 22nd, 2012
7:36 pm

I am for better transportation options and improvements, but in my estimation, the plan as currently offered, is 10 years behind schedule. The Governor, the GA Legislature, and GDOT have done an absolutely poor job of planning and selling the transportation improvements to the voters. The vision, the plan is poorly laid out, so much so that when it is completed, we will need more rail to deal with the influx of up to 3 million more new residents in the metro area by 2022. The leaders, and I use that term loosely, should buy air time on local TV to discuss this massive project and get input from the taxpayers.
1) As an act of goodwill, the legislature should repeal the toll at GA. 400.
2) Try to have an intelligent discussion about the topic, please don’t talk about the crime that MARTA will bring to pristine Cobb, Gwinnett, and North Fulton. The truth of the matter is, there is crime there now, and if you don’t agree, scream for less government and start firings police officers first, because there is no crime in those counties.
3) Hire smart consulting firms and engineers to plan these improvements, definitely do not hire the genius, that thought it was a great idea to merge from 2 lanes to 1 lane in a curve, like on spaghetti junction 285E to 85N, or downtown 20E to 75/85N.
4) Analyze the population growth areas, like Conyers, Douglasville, Mall of Georgia, Kennesaw and figure that rail will help lessen traffic and provide convenience.
5) Offer incentives to companies that pick up their employees in vans or buses from the train stations.
6) Do not build another major venue that is not in close proximity to a train station. How much easier would it be to ride a train to the Braves Stadium? And how much more revenue would MARTA make?
7) Since there is this notion that our beloved Republican Governor, majority Republican Legislature, and GDOT are wasteful, and could possibly mismanage the project, and some tend to think even corruption may take place, have everyone sign a legal document, that if they are found guilty of corruption and gross mismanagement, that they will go to jail for 5 years, refund the taxpayer paid salary they received from the start of the project, and can never serve in a elected or appointed government position and cannot lobby every in the state of Georgia.
Just some thoughts.


May 22nd, 2012
7:49 pm

Some of Georgia’s voters tend to have really short memories. Why would any informed person vote for t-splost,?

Kris T.

May 22nd, 2012
7:54 pm

110% guarantee that the Georgia Legislature, GDOT and governor double dip “Deal” will at every turn misuse the money for every thing other than what it is supposed to be used for. Example as GA. Foreclosure rate spikes. Deal spending federal money that should go to homeowners.


May 22nd, 2012
8:54 pm

@Julian ……. next time .. mail it in. Really.


May 22nd, 2012
9:01 pm

Vote NO on this initiative. The North Fulton and Cobb county 1%’s don’t want (ignorantly) the MARTA rail system coming to their locale. So be it. Let them choke on exhaust and high gas prices. Do NOT let the DOT lie to us and steal our money like they did on GA 400. I personally race through the cruise card lanes on a weekly basis with NO cruise card and have NEVER gotten a citation or ticket in YEARS. GA DOT LIED to Georgia residents and never removed the toll. Ye reap what ye sow.

king sloan

May 22nd, 2012
9:41 pm

how come you are not allowing comments about animals anymore ?? to chicken shti to read the truth ??!!!?

Out by the Pond

May 22nd, 2012
9:41 pm

I would love to have Mass Transit in Cobb County. What they are offering this time is no better than what was offer in 1968, nothing that will really help move people from home to work.


May 22nd, 2012
9:52 pm

Depending on who asks the poll and to whom the poll is asked to the results can be biased. I think what both of these polls suggest is that the polls can go either way. It’s up to us to go out and make effective change. I’ll be making change by going out and voting YES.

South Ga.

May 22nd, 2012
10:16 pm

George if you remember the Gov. called for the date of the referendum to be moved to the General Election during special session last year. However, the tea party and those against the TSPLOST cried foul. They wanted it to stay during the primary. Also, if you read the law then those that say the money will be spent elsewhere will see that the money has to be spent in the region and on the list of projects.

South Ga.

May 22nd, 2012
10:18 pm

I am not sure if I am for this tax but people need to really get their facts straight. Too many people are just saying what they hear and they need to read the bill.

The Truth

May 22nd, 2012
10:38 pm

So much for Hill Research’s claim of accuracy. Democratic Fakers.

(Oct 28, 2010)

“With 5-days remaining before election-day, the race for governor of California has tightened to a dead heat between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown.

Two separate polls confirm that the race is too close to call.

In a survey conducted by Hill Research Consultants among 604 likely voters on October 26th and 27th, the race for governor is tied 43% Whitman to 43% Brown with 4% voting for another candidate and 10% being undecided or refused to respond.”




May 22nd, 2012
11:04 pm

@Julian, well said.

No Teabagging

May 22nd, 2012
11:07 pm

Hey pollsters! You might get more response if you did NOT robocall your alleged surveys from out of state phone lines, or hide the caller I’d name. A blank line, “Toll Free Call” and “wireless caller” from ND or some other state doesn’t get me to pick up the phone!


May 22nd, 2012
11:20 pm

Is hill research a tentacle of rasmussen or do they just use the same flawed methodology?

No way

May 23rd, 2012
12:19 am

Fulton and DeKalb already pay one cent tax. No reason they should pay any more tax. Redo the plan and make it fair. Two cent tax on Fulton and DeKalb and one percent for everyone else I wrong.


May 23rd, 2012
4:11 am

Streetcars, give me a break. Voting no, and everyone else I know is too. All the push polling in the world is not going to get this dog pushed through the voters.

Attack Dog

May 23rd, 2012
5:37 am

1. Georgia Legislature, GDOT and governor “Deal” must be trusted because they are Dixiecrats. 2. Major reason for the boon in North Fulton, South Gwinnett, and East Cobb is GA-400. The major reason for the transportation issues in those areas is the neverending NIMBY whine from Dixiecrats. 3. When the streetcar project is finished, they can put up signs that say “No Dixiecrats Allowed.” That way tourists, Georgia State students, and those who work or are entertained in Downtown ATL will be able to better enjoy the benefits.

Attack Dog

May 23rd, 2012
5:41 am

By the way #4. Why are Dixiecrats complaining that private enterprises and a wealthy few will benefit finanically from the T-SPLOST? Only private enterprises can create jobs, the wealthy will get their tax breaks, and NIMBY Dixiecrats will continue to chase their tails.

[...] T-SPLOST advocates produced their own poll that says what they want to believe that supporters of the penny sales tax outnumber opponents. [...]


May 23rd, 2012
7:06 am

Jeff Dickerson is not the poster boy for crediblity. If I wanted TSPLOST to pass, I would find another voice.

By tbe way, when you have time, take a spin on the Camp Creek extension when you think that “roads cause development”. That idea is the silliest, most accepted and dumbest idea in Atlanta. There is clear evidence that jobs and prosperity do not spring forth from asphalt.
Development arises from a number of factors. Roads are only one.


May 23rd, 2012
7:19 am

Jim you need to dig a little deeper and ask some hard questions of the Citizens for Traffic Mobility group.

Like what was the wording of their poll? It could have been a “push poll” with deceptive or slick appeals to the voters emotions. For example:

“Do you support improving roads and cutting commute times so that you can spend more time with your children, or are you an evil tea party type who likes to drown kittens?”

I exaggerate, but without open disclosure on the poll’s wording, you cannot trust the chamber of commerce types.

Going Right

May 23rd, 2012
7:31 am

Living in Gwinnett County I am especially interested in how the TSPLOST will conjure up a way to ward off the evil demons that will surface to “Help us save our Gwinnett County Transit System!” If any of you on this blog live in Gwinnett and have seen a bus ferrying around more than one or perhaps two people at any one time please go on line and let us know where we may be able to park and wait for another bus to come by . We jokingly had a contest to see who could snap a pic of any GCTS bus that carried more than three people at any one time. Several dozens signed up for the prize but no pics. Why? No no uses it. I understand that the buses will be sold to the new Beltline where they will deteriorate even faster with little (or no) ridership whatsoever. The GA Toll made up my mind when Governor Fish for GA brilliantly agreed to keep that cash cow flowing after the debt was paid.

Going Right

May 23rd, 2012
7:38 am

I forgot to add: If they will agree to connect the “Streetcar Named Desire” from Auburn Avenue over to the new Beltline, we can at least have a Circus for people to watch. Can you imagine the thousands that will board the Beltline to get a ride down to Auburn Avenue (or, maybe, Fort Street) to see the attractions? The Clifton Road/Emory corridor passengers would be enough to keep the “Line” paid for. Bettter still, they can ride the “Line” all the way around to view some of Atlanta’s better neighborhoods and see how the other half lives.

Taxi Smith

May 23rd, 2012
7:41 am

Once again political pressures will build (if anything is build) lines to satisfy constituents and not to help traffic. The bulk of the traffic seize up is on the north side of Atlanta, so yes, let’s spend millions on the southside.


May 23rd, 2012
7:45 am

Start with toll gates on all interchanges of 75, 85, 20, inside of 285 to remind the dolts among us where the real economic activity in this state occurs.

Keep collecting the toll until these tools are ready to build commuter rail to all of the auslands.


May 23rd, 2012
7:47 am

going wrong,

I tried really hard, but I couldn’t find a point in your post.


May 23rd, 2012
8:31 am

Me, ME, me me me me me me me me me…..

Ok, that’s off my chest – I feel better.

For all those that want to vote no – that’s your right. Go ahead. Just please stop spreading untruth about the plan. Please do a bit of research (it does take some work.)

Short term thinking is what got us into this transportation mess in the first place. So why change now? I live in the city – so why pay extra taxes for the ‘burbs to drive around better? I’ll get the Beltline anyway – it is being built – it may take a bit longer, but again, I’ll get to move around on it (transit, trails, parks, planned development, new stores, new destinations … cool!) At least we are doing something about our living environment.

Folks are moving in town to avoid the commute, houses here don’t stay on the market very long at all, and we are doing quite fine, thank you. We don’t drive far to stuff, and traffic isn’t a major part of our lives. We generally can walk (on sidewalks!) to lots of things. There are drawbacks, but having lived OTP and ITP…. I’ll take the latter. It’s a much more civilized lifestyle.

So why would I vote for this thing? It’s for my children and grandchildren! It’s NOT for me! I hope they have a healthier living environment, an even better life style, and a more connected community. We have been putting off long term infrastructure options for short term road fixes for way too long. It is time to change and start thinking regionally, and for the future.

And, I will vote ‘yes’ – mainly because I seriously doubt that any better plan could be devised that would be passed. (and what some folks want removed/added/modified will upset other folks – the plan was a COMPROMISE… oops, bad word for the baggers….sorry….)

This whole thing is a start. It’s not the ultimate plan, but it is a start. We have a LONG way to go!


May 23rd, 2012
8:43 am

the recent fulton co one cent tax was for water. i will vote yes on transortation tax. how else do you think the cities and counties get roads school and services? republican ploy to never raise taxes is what gets us into trouble constantly. mature attitude?


May 23rd, 2012
8:57 am

YeahRight hit the nail on the head. Its about future generations, we all need to stop thinking about right now. This is an investment in our future. The BeltLine is not a boondoogle or circus carousel, it is a legit transportation fix to ferry people around the core of Atlanta, economic engine of the state. It will demonatrate that streetcars do work, so that way streetcars can be built to ferry people around Cobb and Gwinnett counties. Then we build a massive Commuter Rail system, the state has federal funds for it, to transport people between job centers.


May 23rd, 2012
8:59 am


Bryan -- MARTA supporter

May 23rd, 2012
9:10 am

First, I’m a T-SPLOST support and I can honestly say this plan is far from perfect and will not make everyone happy. With that said it still will be a YES vote for me.

Second, please stop complaining about corrupt leaders and mis management because most of these people are the ones YOU voted in so don’t complain.

Third, as YeahRight (May 23rd, 2012 8:31 am) please Rebuplicans and Tea Partiers stop thinking about “Me Me Me, Now Now Now!” NYC’s subway system was not built in 5 years and neither will Atlanta’s. How can anything be accomplished if nothing is ever started because it doesn’t benefit you directly and you don’t want to pay for it.

Fourth, if you don’t support projects locally why would you expect the feds to give any money? MARTA has included the I-20 line as one of their top priorities. Why would I give you money when the locals won’t even support a plan to finance their own transit and road projects?

As with other plans it can be modified once the money starts coming. Right now this is what they felt were the regions best and top priorities. This isn’t what they created. These projects were sent in by each of the counties and then chosen with representation from each of the counties! Each county couldn’t get everything they wanted so they had to pick the top ones.

As far as Fulton/Dekalb paying more I think it is necessary. These are our biggest counties with the most infrastructure and cost the most to update. We also have the largest transit system in the state to support. Though it may not be fair it is something that has to be done. It comes with living in a major city.


May 23rd, 2012
9:22 am

I received a survey call from the proponents recently. First they ask if you support the measure or not, after my NO! response the surveyor went into the follow-up dialog, like “well, did you realize the plan does this . . .”, and when I still did not express support “would you support the plan if this . . .”.

This was not a simple up-and-down yes, no, undecided survey. They are trolling deeply and actively campaigning for some of those YES responses in their survey calls.


May 23rd, 2012
9:27 am

“How can anything be accomplished if nothing is ever started because it doesn’t benefit you directly and you don’t want to pay for it.”

So please explain to me again WHY I should pay for your interpretation of “accomplished”??? Why don’t YOU feel equally obligated to support mine?


May 23rd, 2012
9:32 am

After what GDOT did with I-85 in Gwinnett County (toll lane) and the shoulder of GA 400, I’ve concluded the folks that run that place are bozos. And they want me to give them another 1% so they can maintain their high salaries/benefits and screw-up some more — no thanks.


May 23rd, 2012
9:36 am

just vote no