51% Support for T-SPLOST vote is Actually BAD News…

September 27, 2011 16:05 pm

by Mike Hassinger · 10 comments

Jim Galloway snagged an audio clip of Brad Coker of Mason Dixon, explaining that 51% support among registered voters for the proposed 1% sales tax for transportation is probably going to be the high water mark for support. Coker says that undecideds usually break for the “no” side on a referendum, and that support for any referendum is strongest at the start of a campaign, and that it’s easier to flip voters to “no” than “yes.”

Listen for yourself:

I’m sure Debbie Dooley is gratified by the news that the pollster himself is not optimistic about this sales tax passing.

And thanks to Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM)   for passing it along to Galloway, so we could steal repost it from him.

Spacey G September 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Oh they (whomever *they* might be; even I’m not sure) haven’t started to spend Big Money on the PR campaign for the referendum. But they will. I imagine they’ll need to hire Karl Rove though to get this thing passed. In Georgia. A shame, as a lot of well-qualified Georgians might be looking for a piece of that economics pie. Support local businesses, local economy, you get the point.

Spacey G September 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm

‘Scuse me. Meant to say *region.* As of course this isn’t a statewide referendum. Although maybe it should be!

Mark Rountree September 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Regardless of one’s opinion of the TSplost, this poll by Mason Dixon is an abomination. It is utterly incorrect methodology.

The poll is essentially based on the premise that only 40.8% of voters who vote on Primary day next July will be Republican primary voters, while about 60% will be Democrats. Heaven knows why the pollsters further concluded that a large portion of voters who will vote on Primary Day next year (in either the Democrat or Republican Primaries) will not really be Republicans or Democrats — but instead Independents.

The poll utterly understates Republican turnout, thus inaccurately determines the real situation.

Mason Dixon is incompetent.

This is emphatically not a comment about the T-Splost itself. It is about the AJC’s chosen polling company. Mason Dixon has a terrible track record in Georgia dating back more than a decade.

Calypso September 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm

So you’re saying they crossed the line with this poll?

Mark Rountree September 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm

;)

Just to be clear: margin of error is the polling company, not a percentage.

USA1 September 27, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Why would Mason Dixon think the number of voters in the 10-county area for next year’s general primary would be 60% Democratic and 40% Republican? Maybe because the 2008 presidential primary totals were 60% Democratic and 40% Republican? Or maybe because the 2008 general primary turnout was 62% Democratic and 38% Republican? Or maybe it was because the 2008 general election saw a 58% to 42% advantage for Democrats? Or was it the 54% to 46% split in the 2010 general election? Yeah, looks like some utterly incorrect methodology, huh?

Oh, and heaven knows why the pollsters would conclude that 30% of voters would consider themselves independents? Gosh, it surely couldn’t have anything to do with the Tea Party? Or that Republicans have so dragged the Democratic name so thoroughly the mud in Georgia that people who consider themselves Democrats don’t want to be identified that way?

The Last Democrat in Georgia September 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I think that what Mr. Roundtree is saying is that it was incorrect for Mason-Dixon to assume that more Democrats than Republicans will turnout to vote during a REPUBLICAN primary where participation by right-leaning and conservative voters who identify with the GOP is expected to be very high.

The numbers that you stated for the 10-county area hold true overall and in the November General Election, but not necessarily for a highly-charged Republican Primary with an anti-tax, anti-big government theme.

Engineer September 28, 2011 at 9:36 am

But if it is a predominantly democrat area, then it would seem all entirely possible that there could also be a democrat primary for various offices going on at the same time. I dunno, I just wouldn’t be so fast to write off the other voters.

The Last Democrat in Georgia September 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Or even better, the outcome of the GOP primary could conceivably be affected by a sizeable number of self-identified Independents and Democrats crossing over to vote, which has been a very “proud” tradition throughout much of Georgia’s past since one does not necessarily have to be a registered member of the party holding the primary to vote in it by state law.

bbellew3 October 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Mr. Rountree appears to have an ax to grind. He fails to mention that his firm (Landmark) is being paid to defeat T-SPLOST and that it is also in the polling business. It is therefore in his self-interest to attempt to trash any poll that does not suit his client’s needs, as well as Mason-Dixon’s reputation since they are one of his competitors. Calling another firm “incompetent” and their work an “abomination” is rather bold given that his arguments to base that rhetoric make no sense at all.

Georgia does not have party registration and primary elections are open for any voter to participate in. By what rationale can he predict that the July 2012 primary will be mostly GOP voters? This is not the presidential primary, where the action will all be on the Republican ballot, it is a local primary where candidates from both parties will be competing for their party’s nomination. Furthermore, the sales tax vote itself will bring out voters who do not normally vote in these local primaries. These are very plain and simple facts that he does not seem to grasp.

The AJC poll does not predict a 60% Democrat/40% Republican turnout as Rountree claims. According to the poll results, 41% described themselves as Democrats, 29% described themselves as Republicans and 30% described themselves as independent. No matter how someone describes themselves, they can still choose to vote in either primary. To conclude that the poll is showing a 60% Democrat/40% Republican participation means that Rountree has the amazing ability to arbitrarily determine which primary ballot independent voters will decide to choose 10 months from now. He’s a regular Carnac the Magnificent!

The real numbers fail to back up Rountree’s claim that voters in the 10 counties included in the AJC poll are more heavily Republican. Less than a year ago, the total vote in these 10 counties was 54% for Democrat Roy Barnes and 46% for Republican Nathan Deal. In what almost every political observer agrees was a stronger than average Republican turnout, the Democratic candidate still defeated the Republican candidate by 8 percentage points. In what way does that suggest Republican turnout is understated in the Mason-Dixon poll?

In the future, Mr. Rountree needs to make sure he gets his facts straight before he starts talking trash. It is interesting that someone who claims to be a professional political consultant knows so little about Georgia election laws and the recent voting patterns in the 10 counties participating in the T-SPLOST referendum. Next time he feels the urge to call someone else “incompetent”, Mr. Rountree should first consider looking in the mirror.

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