Poll Shows Two Georgias on Sunday Sales Issue

Metro Atlanta area voters are more likely to support the upcoming ballot initiatives on permitting Sunday sales than voters elsewhere in Georgia, according to recent poll conducted by Hicks Evaluation Group and Guided Precision Services. According to the two-question survey, 3/4 of likely voters in Dunwoody and Decatur support the sale of alcohol on Sunday and more than half of those voters would also support a candidate for office even if that candidate did not support their position on the issue.

It’s a different story in Albany and Savannah, though. Savannah voters oppose Sunday sales 54% to 46%, and 62% of those voters would NOT support a candidate with a different view. In Albany, Sunday sales is opposed by 62% of the voters, and politicians who support the idea would be opposed by 60% of the respondents.

According to Fredrick Hicks of HEG:

“Like so many other issues, support for alcohol sales on Sunday is very much a parochial issue.  It looks like we are going to see a very fragmented system statewide, which may have a significant economic impact… [in different areas.”]

Albany, Decatur and Dunwoody I get. But Savannah? That’s a surprise.

Brief and press release (in pdf) here.

48 comments

  1. griftdrift says:

    You’ve got to remember, there’s more to Savannah than Bay and River St.

    The take away to me is “we are going to see a very fragmented system statewide, which may have a significant economic impact… ”

    Eventually, we’ll have to do something about this at a state level. Feel free to have a rollicking debate about local control, free markets, etc. I won’t say where I stand on it. But I will say that it will eventually happen. Mark my words.

    • Goldwater Conservative says:

      Grift, the markets are not free when local governments prohibit activity. Screw local control. Those p*ssies at the Gold Dome should have mandated this and not allowed counties or cities to determine what they want to do.

      There is a ton of tax revenue to be had from a statewide sunday sales policy…but now that we are leaving this decision to people that would rather dictate, based on their ridiculous religion, other peoples lives we can at least demonstrate to the right-wing that it is the GOP that infringes on personal freedom.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        Wasn’t it the current crop of GOP that let people choose on this issue in the first place?

        It’s because the issue was handled at the state level some hundred years ago that we ended up with a statewide ban on Sunday sales to begin with.

        Believe me, local referendums are the way forward.

        Does it mean every county will embrace Sunday sales? No. But Southwest Georgians will never see things the exact same way as Metro ATLians, and forcing by “mandate” everyone to see things the same way is a totalitarian wet-dream if there ever was one.

      • macho says:

        Personally, I’m for Sunday sales, but I question whether there is a “ton” of tax revenue to be had from a statewide strategy of sunday beer and wine sales. Maybe in unique instances, such as the Super Bowl game, but if there was a “ton” to be had on a week to week basis, the liquor store owners would have gladly hired extra employees and been supportive of the measure.

        I very well could be wrong, but my guess is there will be a slight increase in overall sales, due to a drop in Saturday sales.

        • Goldwater Conservative says:

          You have to consider revenue coming in from Alabama and South Carolina residents that live in close proximity to the border of GA as well.

          Some bottle shop owners are less enthusiastic about this. The bottle shop I shop at when I am in GA is owned by two brothers (they have no other employees) and they use Sundays to deal with inventory and other administrative tasks. They told me they would stay closed on Sunday because they are a little afraid to expand their business right now.

          I suspect this may be a pretty common occurrence, but I do not know. Certainly the big box stores love the idea.

    • macho says:

      Why do you think something needs to be accomplished statewide. We still have dry counties in GA and I don’t see any kind of statewide crisis. The counties that don’t have Sunday retail sales will lose those sales to neighboring counties and feel the pressure.

      The counties that don’t allow Sunday sales at restaurants have these debates and feel the pressure. Many major chain restaurants won’t open if they can’t sell alcohol on Sunday, so they county feels a lot of economic pressure from that.

      Because, if you live in the suburbs or exurbs, and don’t have a Chili’s in your county, you might as well be in the dark ages.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        “The counties that don’t have Sunday retail sales will lose those sales to neighboring counties and feel the pressure.”

        Goldwater C. doesn’t believe that the market has that sort of persuasive ability and that everything must ultimately be directed by government if any changes are to be made.

        But yes, that’s pretty much how it works, Macho.

      • Lady Thinker says:

        I think the counties without Sunday sales will be supported by the people who don’t believe in Sunday Sales but still eat out on Sundays.

  2. drjay says:

    the impression i had gotten from what little i have heard, is that this was a bit of a push poll, so results may not be as they appear either…

  3. Toxic Avenger says:

    I’ve heard the same thing, drjay. Plus, I’ve never heard of the pollster, so the results are dubious for me, when more reputable sources put favorables around 75%.

    • Goldwater Conservative says:

      A 5.5% margin of error is problematic for this poll…not to mention it is not state-wide (though enough money was spent conducting this to allow a state wide poll to be conducted).

      I have not seen a poll show 75% reporting to favor Sunday sales…especially when I was made privy to a Pew Research poll that showed more than 54% of Republican identifiers indicating that they do not support Sunday Sales.

        • Doug Deal says:

          The M.O.E. is large because they split the poll into three regions, thus dividing the sample size roughly in thirds.

          Mark Roundtree has reported county by county poll results with as few as 20 responders, which actually has a M.O.E. of 22%, but pollsters like to usually report the M.O.E. of the entire poll set, which is disingenuous when speaking about a sub-group.

          The poll for Decatur had 217 responders, so the M.O.E. is about 6.6%, for Dunwoody, it’s 5.8%, for Albany it’s 4.6% and for Savannah it’s 5.2%. It looks like they just averaged all these values together to get their reported MOE.

          If the M.O.E. was calculated like some pollsters do, they could have claimed a 2.7 M.O.E. for the poll as a whole, and then broken out the sub-groups without explaining that the MOE goes way up as you sub-divide.

          • Doug Deal says:

            Oh, and that is assuming it is a 100% error-free poll in every other way. That MOE is uses the assumption that the poll is nothing more than a random coin toss with two possible outcomes.

            If heads were worth two points, and tails were worth 0 points, the average should be about 1 point per flip with an infinite number of flips, but with only 217 random flips, 95% of the time, the total of the runs will be 217 points +/- 6.6% or in other words, fall within the interval of 203-231 points. The other 5% of the time the number of points will be outside of that interval, either too high or too low.

          • Actually Doug, you mis-read our poll and our intention in releasing data. It was not to draw conclusions on data in that manner.

            The omission of real data, including weighting, sponsorship, crosstabs, methodology, who was polled, and full release of data (such as — undecided responses and refusals) is notable. I conclude that the lack of early release of this data means this poll is not reliable.

            • Doug Deal says:

              I agree with that, Mark. It is light on details, which is a bad thing, but that is not what TA meant in his assailing of the MOE.

              The poll I was referring from your firm was one in the primary last year. You had reported a breakdown of a larger poll (I think for Gov, but it might have been AG) for individual counties in the metro area or something.

              You didn’t do a bad thing, but when one of the subgroups had something like 20 or so people, the value of even reporting it for FYI sake is somewhat dubious, since a result of 40-60 (-20) could just as easily be 60-40 (+20) and still be within the MOE. Not a reflection of your skill, but just the laws of mathematics at work.

  4. rebelyelp says:

    The poll is poorly designed and doesn’t get at the issue of local control. It asks about support for Sunday sales, not support for allowing local voters to decide.

    • Goldwater Conservative says:

      The poll was not intended to be statewide and it does, as the researchers show, indicate that there are two georgias.

      The questions wording is fine…the samples from the cities are adequate.

      The only way a person can state that the poll was poorly designed are those that are trying to draw conclusions from the poll that can not be drawn.

      • Goldwater, please read my query below.

        Why no crosstabs?

        What was the racial weighting? Unlisted.

        Why are there no undecided voters reported?

        And who paid for the poll?

        These are essential questions. I’m open to reading it and analyzing it, but didn’t see it on what was posted.

        • Goldwater Conservative says:

          I agree…there is a great deal of info not presented and I do not like that. Who knows what their motive is? I have no clue. Maybe this public release of a little information was designed more for people to draw conclusions about ideology and the “ignorance” of a certain peoples…we have no clue.

          I know Ling and Porter and can vouch for Ling’s capabilities as a market researcher…since this is anonymous I can be more honest than usual, Porter is not all that talented. Put it this way, there is a reason why Dexter worked in GA for the Obama campaign and not in an important state or a sure thing.

          Porter still likes working in politics, but Ling likes working the actual private sector conducting market research and stuff. I am not surprised that a search on the State Ethics site turned up nothing. I can say this, Ling knows what he is doing. He did not have the patience or intellectual drive for academia and found what he was looking for in the private sector (money).

          This type of press attention is exactly that kind of crap people like him crave. He could never have submitted this little bit of info in academia and received anything but a “do it over again.” Do it in the private sector and your company will get picked up by a couple of news organizations.

  5. B Balz says:

    Dunwoody offers Sunday Sales as a blockbuster, “Get out the VOTE” issue as there are other items on the November ballot. Like City Council/Mayor positions and the hugely unpopular Tax Increase referendum. While the “But, the money stays in Dunwoody” argument is compelling, many are unconvinced $50MM is needed.

    We’ll need a drink before it is all over with…

  6. atlpolitco says:

    The two questions seem pretty straightforward to me and not a “push” at all. It is about supporting the issue itself, not the broader concept of local control.
    I think this issue is going to sail through the metro area–who doesn’t like to drink during football season—baseball season—hell hockey season. lol. I am surprised that Albany is so against it.

  7. Goldwater Conservative says:

    I know I should not be shocked at this…but it does comes off as a strong indicator that many Georgians are not ready to step into the 19th century (let alone the 20th or the 21st).

    I would like to see cross-tabs of “support and years of formal education” as well as “support and ideological self placement” and indicators of who they voted for in 2008. I think all of us know who these people are.

      • Goldwater Conservative says:

        I am not sure if you are being sarcastic or not. I really am only interested in the formal education bit. I already know the ideology part and religion as well. The few Jews and Muslims in GA wouldn’t care…their Sabbaths are on different days. The only exceptions would be those that do not want Sunday sales because they want no sales period. Party wouldn’t tell us too much of a story because there are still some bigots in the rural areas that call themselves democrats (I guess they haven’t received Zell Miller memo yet).

        Ideology would most certainly show little support amongst conservatives. This is the problem crowd that I always mention when I talk about how difficult it will be for many of the GOP presidential candidates to win the general election. Evangelicals, the kind that are opposed to abortion and science and Sunday sales, overwhelmingly vote republican in most of the key primary states and have a disproportionate influence on who the nominee turns out to be. Factor in the possibility that Florida may lose half of its delegates if it moves is primary forward and that influence is increased even further. They are out of the mainstream, their candidates turn-off centrists and moderates (and receive outright disdain from everyone left of center), and they tend to muscle out the practical candidates that have a shot.

        I would be more interested in frequency of church attendance, but, again, it would almost certainly be a negative correlation (eg, more attendance would lead to less support for Sunday sales).

        • Calypso says:

          I wasn’t being sarcastic at all. I agree with the bulk your assessment, I guess I should have refined my question as to ‘what denomination(s) within the Christian community’.

          I don’t know about frequency of church attendance, though. Most devout and regularly attending Catholics, and folks in the more progressive Protestant denominations that I know are in support of Sunday sales. Admittedly, the evangelicals are in a rather high number around here.

          Do you really think the Florida Republicans will shoot themselves in the foot (if not the head) by moving up their primary knowing the repercussion the national party threatens to inflict upon them?

          • Goldwater Conservative says:

            The idea of denominations is interesting, but confusing results start rearing their heads when looking at that. For one, operationally, evangelical means different things to pollsters and academics than it does to survey respondents. Interactive variables would have to be created between ethnicity and religion because most Latin American Catholics are far more socially conservative than mainstream Catholics…and they are making up a larger crowd in GA than past elections.

            As for your question, it is very likely. Florida has a lot of delegates and has a great deal of influence in the outcome of the primary. Furthermore, Florida republicans are more of the Romney or Rudy Giuliani types…losing half of the delegates means that there is a lower likelihood of the Florida winner being the party’s nominee. Especially this year considering how many social conservatives are running.

            In the end the RNC can change their minds so as to attempt to have a more centrist candidate in an attempt to reduce the influence of social conservative states. The big thing going for the RNC, unlike the DNC, is that they can choose to ignore about half of the states GOP voters. Face it, the candidates that do well in the Mid-West and the South, though they are the bread and butter of the GOP, have an advantage in the primaries that does not translate into general election success. Huckabee and Daniels, for example, can not win most battleground states. Romney is, or at least was at one point, centrist enough to give Obama a run for his money in states like Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and even New Hampshire and Florida.

            All of this is contingent upon the RNC doing its job…which is to win elections and advocate policy positions.

  8. Based on the high percentage of females in the poll, I’m guessing this was a first response robo-poll that didn’t really aim for demographic weighting.

    So, old people (those who answer their phones in high proportions) in Decatur and Dunwoody are for it, those in Savannah and Albany less so. Not that surprising, I can’t image in reality with a full electorate it wouldn’t pass in all four places though.

  9. Doug Deal says:

    Any locality that doesn’t adopt it will be cheered on by their neighbors who do. Imagine how much revenue a small county could earn that is in the middle of a bunch of counties that prohibit Sunday sales.

    Not just from sales tax, but ticket revenue for speeders as well as drunk driving arrests. It seems like it could be a perfect storm for a fleet of luxury police cruisers and sending the county commission to a “good public policy” retreat in vegas every year.

      • Doug Deal says:

        It was a joke.

        Just trying to account for the side benefits in a humorous way while doing dual-duty dissing local governments about their all too common revenue model and bugetary priorities.

  10. ToddRehm says:

    I just got called by their goofy robopoll system with a survey on the state convention races.

    They finally started asking questions the fifth time they called me.

  11. I…just don’t even know where to start with this….

    Why no crosstabs?

    What was the racial weighting? Unlisted.

    Why are there no undecided voters reported?

    And who paid for the poll?

    These are essential questions.

    And what other work have they done in Georgia to constitute a “leading firm in Florida and Georgia?” Zero state expenditures to them in Georgia according to the Ethics Commission website. Candidly, never heard of them.

    • Toxic Avenger says:

      Okay how many of you are pollsters here?

      Mark, you are? And you’re bringing up valid questions about their scientific methods.

      Shoot, guys, I’m starting my “own firm” right now. TA Polling. Everyone let me know where you stand, and I’ll publish the numbers. Because that’s the legitimacy I see in this poll.

      And I bet with my method, I’ll still get a better than 5.5% MOE.

      • Goldwater Conservative says:

        Technically they are called survey methods. Scientific methods are used to answer a specific research question with a hypothetical presumption based upon a theoretical foundation.

        Ling is legitimate pollster…he just does not do much polling for political candidates.

        I will admit, as I do above, that this press release is poorly done and I am curious who commissioned the poll. Although it is possible nobody commissioned the poll and the company did this to get some press and visibility.

      • Actually yes TA.

        We have regularly conducted public opinion research in Georgia for fifteen years. We are releasing here one tomorrow for your viewing pleasure, in fact.

      • Doug Deal says:

        MOE only depends on sample size, nothing more. It is not a testiment to the validity of their assumptions or methodology.

        Most polls that Mark reports would have MOE over 20% when he breaks down data into small sub-groups, like county for a poll over the entire state or metro region. That’s what this poll did, but I have never seen Mark report that the MOE goes way up for small sub-groups.

        The low MOEs you see in any poll are a result of using 1,000 or more responders, which equates to an approximate 3% MOE.

  12. saltycracker says:

    Clicked on GPS link in post and saw an unshaven derelict on a cellphone, taking the booze poll we can guess……

  13. Cobb County Gal says:

    @Goldwater Conservative, actually I worked on the national campaign with Dexter and I was one of the volunteer directors and Dexter was offered two states outside of Georgia, now if you knew Dexter and you say you do but really don’t you would know as all Obama alumni knew the reason he didn’t take a position outside of GA was because the year he was offered that job was the same year his grandmother 101 years died.

    I know I was was there at the funeral along with about 15 other GA staffers at his church, that is a record of fact and public information unlike what you’re talking on this board. I only hope he doesn’t get pissed at me putting his information out there like this, but you seem to be like most males in this town you’ll talk that on a board but never say that too the persons face at least that has been my experience as a woman in Georgia.

    Last are you certain he only works in politics? That sounds incorrect because last I checked he has worked at the Federal Reserve Bank, with an MBA’s from Emory I don’t think you really know much about him.

    I hope that one day I can actually meet a real man in this town that isn’t a weak male like yourself if you got something to say to why don’t you get a pair of balls and say it to the guys face or are you far too frighten to do that?

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