All of the polling I’ve seen on T-SPLOST has reinforced the presumption that the regional referenda will get more support from voters on the left than from voters on the right.
Most of that polling has focused on the Atlanta metro area, however, and there are a zillion potential variables that make predictions hard for some other regions, including the question of low turnout in July, the number of other races of local interest, the quality of the regional T-SPLOST project lists, and so forth and so on.
In other words, this post might end up being a big waste of time.
At minimum, I certainly am much closer to being able to name all of Georgia’s counties than I was a few days ago.
I did a lot of basic computations here, so it’s entirely possible that I got my numbers mixed up somewhere. If you see any problems, please let me know in the comments or get in touch via billdawers[at]comcast.net.
To get a better sense of the general partisan leanings of each region, I used the 2008 county-by-county breakdown of the vote for McCain vs. the vote for Obama. I added up the total votes per region and then came up with a regional winning margin in percentage terms. I simply threw out the tiny percentage of votes for other candidates. I’m sure this data exists somewhere, but I haven’t seen it published.
So here’s the winning margin in percentage terms in each T-SPLOST region for McCain or Obama.
Region 1, Northwest Georgia: +44.8
Region 2, Georgia Mountains: +54.2
Region 3, Atlanta: +15.4
Region 4, Three Rivers: +31.6
Region 5, Northeast Georgia: +21.2
Region 6, Middle Georgia: +5.0
Region 7, Central Savannah River Area: +1.6
Region 8, River Valley: +8.0
Region 9, Heart of Georgia Altamaha: +35.2
Region 10, Southwest Georgia: +6.0
Region 11, Southern Georgia: +28.8
Region 12, Coastal Georgia: +5.4
So, if Republican voters oppose the tax in the numbers suggested by the polls, T-SPLOST seems certain to fail in regions 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, and 11. A few notes about the regions where there is at least a chance of passage:
- Even though there seems to be a growing consensus that T-SPLOST will fail in the Atlanta area, I think there’s an even chance of it passing. It might be the only region to approve it, which would certainly make for some tricky funding choices in the next legislative session.
- Region 6 includes the relatively large counties of Bibb (Macon) and Houston (Warner Robins).
- Region 7 is dominated by the large counties of Richmond and Columbia, both part of the Augusta metro area.
- More than half of the voters in Region 8 will likely be in Muscogee County (Columbus)
- Region 10’s largest county is Dougherty (Albany).
- Region 12 includes Chatham County and the rest of the Savannah metro area, as well as Glynn County (Brunswick).
As I noted in a previous post, I don’t think that there will be a big enough turnout and large enough winning margin in Chatham County to overcome likely losses elsewhere in Region 12.
And, if the limited polling about partisan support for T-SPLOST is reflective of what will happen on July 31st, a similar pattern will play out in regions 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10.