Channel 2 poll: Transportation sales tax support slips

On the eve of a resumption of the TV campaign for the transportation sales tax, a new poll just posted by Channel 2 Action News shows support for the effort slipping.

From the website:

A Rosetta Stone Communications poll conducted for Channel 2 Action News found only 38 percent of voters in 10 metro counties support the proposed tax, while 49 percent oppose the plan.

Those numbers show a drop in support of the tax from late May when a Rosetta Stone poll showed 42 percent supported the referendum and 45 percent opposed the measure.

The margin of support in Fulton and DeKalb counties isn’t anywhere near what’s needed to offset opposition in largely Republican counties. Check out the crosstabs:

wsbtranpoll

Just for the record, Rosetta Stone Communications is a political service firm that caters primarily to Republican clients.

In response, Sam Williams, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, sent an email to supporters that included this:

“WSB released a poll this afternoon. The results are in stark contrast to the results of our own as will happen many times in the ensuing weeks. We do not know anything about the methodology used by WSB’s pollster but we have every confidence in ours.

“Additionally, our polling has shown a long standing trend of people saying they plan their day around traffic. In fact, 87% of voters say the traffic in metro Atlanta has gotten so bad that something must be done about it.”

That was quickly followed by a longer, more detailed don’t-panic message from Dave Stockert, chairman of the pro-transportation campaign:

I wanted to be the first to alert you that WSB is releasing a poll this afternoon showing the July 31 Transportation Referendum down by 11 points. While this figure is in stark contrast to our internal polling data, we do want to take the time to properly address your concerns.

First off, it is nearly impossible to properly poll in such a low-turnout race. We are expecting less than 400,000 voters to turn out in the July 31st Primary. That is why over the past two months we have made over 200,000 successful voter ID calls so we know who we need to turn out to vote yes. Without having access to this data it is extremely difficult to accurately identity likely voters for a poll.

More importantly, our massive media campaign was just launched last night. Thanks to your generosity over the past sixteen months we were able to book over 3,000 points of network television for the month of July; meaning likely voters are going to view our TV spots an average of 30 times. We have also placed over 1,500 highly-targeted cable television spots. The poll released today does not reflect the impact our persuasion media will have on currently undecided voters.

In addition to the television spots we are dropping over one million pieces of mail highlighting specific projects to our targeted strong yes voters. This along with a huge absentee ballot program will help ensure our current supporters cast their “YES” ballots.

They don’t call these operations campaigns for nothing. We are literally waging an air and ground war over the next month that is the biggest Atlanta has seen in almost a decade. Our messaging along with the heavy media blitz and advanced field operation will all have a major impact on not only turning the polls in our favor, but in leading us to victory.

We will not grow weary in the face of an unfavorable poll. Instead we are reenergized and motivated to work even harder. I ask you in this last month to dig deep and help us see this critical campaign through.

The impact can’t be measured yet by any poll, but here’s a dire thought for T-SPLOST supporters: Given Thursday’s health care decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the GOP presidential campaign of Mitt Romney will be carpet-bombing the nation with the message that what we once thought was a health care mandate is now a health care tax.

That means anti-tax rhetoric is about to soar, and there’s a danger that the July 31 sales tax referendum could get wrapped into it, further dampening support for the measure.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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113 comments Add your comment

Kris

June 29th, 2012
1:36 pm

STOP this SCAM …Vote no !

Don't Be Silly...

June 29th, 2012
1:38 pm

Regional Rail Now or BUST…

Kris (all Aboard"

June 29th, 2012
1:42 pm

All Aboard “Pardon me, boy Is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
Track twenty-nine”.

Tons of people and freight moved for miles on A single Gallon of Fuel..

Cobb resident & voter

June 29th, 2012
1:43 pm

CobbGOPer

June 29th, 2012
1:44 pm

“That means anti-tax rhetoric is about to soar, and there’s a danger that the July 31 sales tax referendum could get wrapped into it, further dampening support for the measure.”

I’m ok with this.

East Lake Ira

June 29th, 2012
1:45 pm

Undecided at the moment.

Not sure I trust these idjits with the cash.

I’m sure all the road projects will be completed but I’m afraid they’ll figure out some way to quash the public transit projects and redirect the cash to something else.

Dumb and Dumber

June 29th, 2012
1:48 pm

Well, I live in DeKalb and ride MARTA every day and I’m voting no.

Not because the project list is pork barrel politics (which is true); not because I’m inherently opposed to taxes (I’m not and would vote for a sale tax that would work even if it mainly supported suburban roads — which this one does); not because the legislature will very likely siphon money out of metro Atlanta for Blue Ridge, Waycross, etc. (They most certainly will, but I’m used to that); and not because it singles out MARTA for special contempt (it does).

I’m voting no because the legislature whiffed on the issue of who is in charge of transit planning and operations outside Fulton and DeKalb. GRTA needs to get out of the business of competing with county transit lines and MARTA. This bill would give hundreds of millions to GRTA, Cobb, Gwinnett and Clayton to run transit (actually bus lines) that compete with each other and MARTA. Why the Gold Domers think that taxpayer funded transit lines competing with each other is a good idea is beyond me — but they seem to think its a dandy idea.

I give the bill a D+ and I’m not going to vote to approved any legislation that cannot make a C- grade.

As usual, our buffoons under the Gold Dome got this one backward. First, figure out who is in charge; Second, develop a project list; and then ask us to vote to increase sales taxes. Just saying “trust me” I’m a Georgia Legislator does not work.

Enjoy your car, y’all.

Cobb commuter

June 29th, 2012
1:53 pm

We voted down Marta rail to Cobb, HOV lanes, the northern arch, bicycle lanes, and pretty much every forward thinking transportation idea. What we have in Cobb is a disaster for transportation that hurts our pocketbooks, our economy, our health, and our families. Transportation is a part of both the Georgia and US constitutions.

Vote yes on July 31 and move forward on our transportation planning for the future.

Reason

June 29th, 2012
1:57 pm

Vote no if you enjoy being 49th in the nation in transportation funding! And we’ll probably soon drop behind Tennessee into last place.

elliott

June 29th, 2012
1:58 pm

NO No no its still an additional tax… we cant even get rid of the income tax

splendid splinter

June 29th, 2012
2:01 pm

“That means anti-tax rhetoric is about to soar, and there’s a danger that the July 31 sales tax referendum could get wrapped into it, further dampening support for the measure.”

Gee Mr. Galloway – why don’t you just come out and say it. You’re in favor of more money for road building, you’re in favor of bigger government and you’re in favor of higher taxes.

Jason

June 29th, 2012
2:02 pm

Vote NO to bailing Cobb out of the mess they created for themselves. You want more transportation, add another SPLOST or property tax. Don’t make the rest of the metro pay for your decades of stupid decision making that didn’t look more than ten minutes into the future.

Disbelief

June 29th, 2012
2:03 pm

I can’t say I am surprised by moronic Republican’s polling 68.1% against the TSPLOST but it really is difficult to understand. Clearly uninformed or misinformed voters will vote against metro Atlanta’s economy. It defies logic. ‘nuff said.

Jack in Sandy Springs

June 29th, 2012
2:05 pm

How much of this tax would end up as bribes or kickbacks? Probably a fair amount so I am voting NO!

Centrist

June 29th, 2012
2:06 pm

@ splendid splinter – Galloway is a liberal Democrat, and most things he blogs about reflect that pervasive AJC philosophy. He also is a byline reporter on occasion, and like most other AJC reporters and editors – the liberal slant is always there.

This tax searching for reasons to exist has been unpopular with voters since the first of many lists were published. It has mostly been pushed by liberals (of course the AJC), and Chambers of Commerce (hence Governor Deal).

Like always, only when the actual vote is getting near does the liberal media including this blog start to report the truth about how polling is trending. Only some of the Wisconsin recall vote media reporting didn’t snap back to reality with their bogus “too close to call” reporting. This blog told us how TSPLOST was popular and the opposition was disorganized – until the cheer-leading did not work. Now the excuse is that the SCOTUS ruling of the Obamacare tax may hurt – ignoring the fact that TSPLOST was unpopular with the electorate from day one of its proposal(s).

Joe in Cobb

June 29th, 2012
2:07 pm

I’m probably voting yes on this, but I’m not thrilled with the bill. It’s far too short on real mass transit and spends too much on roads.

As far as more taxes, well, how the hell do you people expect to grow local economies? You cannot just assume the private sector is going to do everything. They’re not going to build roads. They’re not going to provide our needy schools with the money they need to adequately educate our children.

It’s like farming. Growing good crops and livestock required investing — water, soil seed, fertilizer, feed for the animals, storage, barns, etc. You’re not going to be successful unless you INVEST in it.

Brad

June 29th, 2012
2:09 pm

We need to address our transportation issue but I am not sold on this plan. We need for this thing to be at least 60-70% rail projects. We have enough roads. I live in Cobb and its a nightmare here but they think that it will bring crime (aka blacks) to Cobb. They don’t like to mention this but there are parts of Cobb that resemble a third world country. It can’t get any worse. I have never seen folks that are willing to cut their own throats out of pure ignorance. This TIA really doesn’t help COBB that much in my opinion.

Sidewalks to nowhere

June 29th, 2012
2:09 pm

Living in the city of Atlanta, I will be voting NO. I’d vote yes if the projects were worthwhile, but this is nothing but a bunch of BS projects that won’t help anything. Dekalb and Fulton have paid 1% for Marta for years while the suburbs get state money to fund their worthless bus rapid transit lines. This tax again funds those bus lines and for that, I will be voting a big NO.

Pompano

June 29th, 2012
2:11 pm

The T-SPLOST has nothing to do with resolving traffic issues in GA. It is nothing more than a ‘Developer Bailout’ bill intended to transfer millions of dollars to the well-connected in GA. Gwinnett county alone has built in an $88 million slush-fund under the guise of a Rail Study (which usually cost about a mil to do) to funnel to cronies.

After the recent performance of the Gwinnett County BOC with their hands-in-the-cookie-jar, anyone who trusts these folks to spend wisely is not paying attention.

splendid splinter

June 29th, 2012
2:12 pm

@ Centrist – you read between the lines real well.

DannyX

June 29th, 2012
2:14 pm

“This tax searching for reasons to exist has been unpopular with voters since the first of many lists were published.”

“This tax” is brought to you by Georgia Republicans. The project list committee was dominated by suburban Republicans.

Blaming the liberal media for TSPLOST is not very bright, in fact it is down right crazy.

Marlboro Man

June 29th, 2012
2:17 pm

Those who bribe will throw money at it, enough money = victory.

Rafael for Mass Transportation

June 29th, 2012
2:18 pm

Why is our country so backward in promoting mass transportation? All over the world countries are investing in light rail for commuting and fast trains for tourism and for connecting major cities. I just returned from Spain and rode the AVE (fast rail) and the Metro – clean, efficient, on-time and very popular. What are we waiting for? Ah…for the day you try to back out of your driveway and can’t move an inch, right?

Glen

June 29th, 2012
2:23 pm

Disbelief is the one who appears to be uninformed. Several posters have made very well informed post explaining the problems with voting ‘yes’ on this particular T-SPLOST. Perhaps you should research the proposal and actually read its text before labeling opponents uninformed.

My inclination is to hold my nose and vote yes. While I acknowledge the shortcomings expressed by Dumb and Dumber and Centrist, I’m generally in favor of using a sales tax as it captures revenue from those outside the region whereas an income or property tax does not. Also, a sales tax will bring in income from bicyclists who demand use of the roads but do not pay the gasoline tax which is supposed to fund road maintenance. Now when they buy their spandex, water bottles, energy bars, and biking gear they can contribute funds along with drivers.

VoiceOfReason

June 29th, 2012
2:25 pm

Now that I have to pay the mandated ObamaTAX (aka ObamaCare) I can’t afford this transportation tax.

Vanbren5

June 29th, 2012
2:26 pm

I’ll vote YES but the only way we’re ever really going to have a world class city is to vote out the ignorant tea baggers (John Birchers) and vote in Progressive Democrats–the.ones who built this city. We were well on the way until GWB. Oh how I yearn for the day when Atlanta will be powerful enough to dominate state politics like Chicago, NYC and Seattle.

Jim

June 29th, 2012
2:26 pm

I am voting against the start of the Northern Arc, matching funds for the control tower for Cobb County (start charging landing fees if you don’t have the dough), anything to do with the dumb streetcar idea for the City of Atlanta.

Any other stupid ideas in this T-SPLOST?

Still voting no.

A reader

June 29th, 2012
2:29 pm

I am voting no for 1 reason — The Beltline. It takes 10% of the budget and does nothing to relieve traffic. It is an project to boost the economy of the inner city, not a transportation project. And frankly I am tired of paying for boondoogle special projects in Atlanta.

Iron Constitution

June 29th, 2012
2:29 pm

Vote no for the simple fact that the law as it is written is unconstitutional. Georgia’s constitution does not allow regional approval for state funding. In 2008-09, legislators agreed a constitutional amendment was needed to create multi-county regions whose single regional vote would bind all counties in that region….but it failed. So the T-SPLOST is unconstitutional.

More than 50 percent of the money would go toward mass transit projects which would benefit only about 5 percent of commuters….aka does next to nothing to relieve congestion.

This 10-year tax will also require massive taxpayer subsidies to maintain empty trains and buses…which means more and more taxes forever.

How many more reasons do you need to vote no?

Reason

June 29th, 2012
2:31 pm

TO those who think this is all some scheme to line pockets … give it up. Try being an informed voter. Read the actual piece of legislation and understand that safeguards were put in place so that all tax dollars go to actual transportation projects. And I’m sure you’ve all studied this well enough to know that 85% of the funds go to projects on the existing list. 15% of funds will go to the individual communities for transportation projects that didn’t make the final list.

Oh – and what percentage of sales taxes in Atlanta are paid by NON-residents? Wouldn’t it be nice to collect taxes from the nearly 100 million people who fly into Atlanta every year? Maybe the trillions of northern snowbirds who drive through Atlanta. THESE people who be helping to pay for these transportation infrastructure projects. Last time I checked, having someone else pay better then a third of our costs would be considered a good thing. But vote no if you don’t want more of their money.

ATLJacket

June 29th, 2012
2:32 pm

I think the consequences of not passing this will become readily apparent to all the morons that live OTP and commute downtown. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. Should there be more public transportation projects? Probably so. If it gets voted down will either of those things show up later in greater numbers? Absolutely not as I think the organizers would take the rejection as there being too much public transportation in the bill and just start laying more asphalt. We’ve got to get people off the roads for our own sanity. And @VoiceOfReason: If you don’t plan on purchasing health care, don’t go to the hospital when you get sick/injured and I’m OK with you not paying the tax.

Reason

June 29th, 2012
2:38 pm

So, everyone who lives OTP and commutes in is a moron?

No Longer Republican

June 29th, 2012
2:40 pm

I generally oppose anything Nathan Deal supports because I know he does nothing without figuring out a way to enrich himself or his friends and contributors. But I have decided to vote yes because there is nothing else out there that is doing anything toward fixing the traffic mess in Atlanta. One of the projects is adding a lane to GA 400 in southern Forsyth County and it is MUCH needed. If I can hope that happens, I will support this.

DannyX

June 29th, 2012
2:50 pm

Reports are coming in that the new nuclear power plants are already facing $1 billion in cost overruns. Remember that funding debacle? Another genius plan by Georgia Republicans that allowed Georgia Power to pre-charge (residential customers only) for a plant that is not producing. Hey Republicans, is that a tax??? Guess who pays for the cost overruns?? Yep the ratepayers, investors have no liability.

No big surprise that the new nuclear plants are already facing massive cost overruns. It won’t be a bit surprising when major TSPLOST projects also run into big cost overruns. What happens then??? Where do they make up the difference? Do they cancel projects that were voted on? Who gets to decide were the funds from a canceled project goes?

What happens if matching federal funds don’t materialize or do not bring in what was projected? Where does the money come to make up the difference? Do they cancel projects that were approved by the voters? Who gets to decide were the extra money goes if a project is canceled?

Oh, and why are gasoline sales exempt from the TSPLOST tax?

Hmmmmmm

June 29th, 2012
2:56 pm

JUST SAY NO! NO more TAXES!

Cobb County Redneck

June 29th, 2012
2:56 pm

I’m this guy who is an over 50, white, Republican, Cobb native and unlike some of my counterparts here, I’m voting YES. I sit in traffic everyday and watch us continue to spiral down in this region doing nothing to fix this. Like it or not, we have to take action now and this plan is as good as its going to get for us. Those who want a re-do are in fantasyland. A re-do will never happen in a way that you will be happy. You trust our legislature to take care of this for us – Really? I’m convinced that most of the OTP anti’s only daily outings are to the Golden Corral for the early bird special. The rest of us are stuck in traffic trying to get home from work to see our families. I actually have a feeling that there are a lot of people out there who are in the same traffic jam i’m in, and are voting YES too.

Bob

June 29th, 2012
3:03 pm

VOTE NO!

VOTE NO!

VOTE NO!

VOTE NO!

Sense for the Obvious

June 29th, 2012
3:04 pm

Let’s see, 8 BILLION Dollars of taxpayer money on the table, the ARC selecting the projects, Commercial Real Estate Investors running ARC, ARC not covered by state ethics laws, the so-called “Watch-Dogs” making sure the Governor gets what he wants done.
Hmmmm. What could possibly go wrong?

This commentary sponsored by Siemens, “We’re big in the rail transit business”.

Hmmmmmm

June 29th, 2012
3:05 pm

Cobb County redneck,

Don’t be a FOOL!

Centrist

June 29th, 2012
3:13 pm

Glen posted “I’m generally in favor of using a sales tax as it captures revenue from those outside the region.”

So would a fuel tax – matching users to payers. It would also capture revenue from Florida snowbirds, beach-goers, vacationers, Daytona 500, college football fans, and Disney World pass through travelers who clog our roads. There is a Plan B, and voting this monstrosity down is the only way to get there.

James

June 29th, 2012
3:15 pm

Redneck, you chose to live far away from work. You chose to need to have billions of dollars of socialist infrastructure built to get you from home to work and back. You chose to live where everything you need for living is only accessable by a vehicle powered by fuel from the middle east and driven on roads that require a huge government to build and maintain. Not everyone made the same terrible short minded mistakes you did, so don’t expect the rest of us to pay to correct your mistakes. It’s a good thing you’re stuck in traffic. The less time you spend with your family, the less chance there is that your poor decision making skills will rub off on them. For the sake of our country, hopefully your children make better choices than you.

RN

June 29th, 2012
3:15 pm

I agree with Jack in Sandy Springs. This state is not capable of managing transportation project. Just look at the LIE they told about the toll on GA 400. If this fails, the politicians have themselves to blame. Atlanta will choke on it’s malfeasance and inability to manage public funds. Too much cronyism.

Marlboro Man

June 29th, 2012
3:22 pm

For ATL, vote yes– other parts of the state, vote no.

jimbo

June 29th, 2012
3:28 pm

What part of NO don’t you understand? Is it the N or the O? Send the bas–rds a message. No more business as ususal. No more bureaucrats who are not accountable. No more believing that government is here to help us. No more lies and half-truths. No TSPLOST.

JustJimmyOnTheFive

June 29th, 2012
3:28 pm

Enter your comments here

JustJimmyOnTheFive

June 29th, 2012
3:32 pm

Bottom line, here: GA DOT cannot be trusted with money, as most of Georgia government cannot be trusted with money. The deadbeats griping about traffic? Who cares. Live with it, or move. This crappy state & city has been previously trusted with public funds they’ve misspent. Why should the trash working in government be trusted again? Want more fluid traffic? Take a bus. No one cares.

Pellaz

June 29th, 2012
3:32 pm

I’m voting NO because frankly, I don’t trust GDOT or GRTA to spend the money wisely. They sure haven’t established much of a good track record so far!

jimbo

June 29th, 2012
3:33 pm

Are there still rednecks in Cobb County? Wow!!

Rafe Hollister

June 29th, 2012
3:34 pm

If you trust politicians, vote yes. I don’t.

Bunky

June 29th, 2012
3:37 pm

Folks–please consider three things
1. How could spending $7 billion on transportation in our region not help with congestion–do you think GDOT is goign to replace these funds? Federal funding? not likely.
2. Spending $700 million per year would be a major stimulus to the regional economy at a time when we definately need it.
3. How is the value of your home doing? especially those you in the outer burbs where values are declining the most? If we invest in lessening congestion and increase access to jobs values will increase, it was proven in Seattle.
4. Transit advocates, do you think there will be any regional support for transit without complementary funding for roads? Wake up!