Tennesseans evenly split statewide on school vouchers, but attitudes differ across race and region

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Tennesseans remain divided statewide on Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to spend state money on private schooling for poor children in failing public schools, but views differ sharply by race and region, the latest MTSU Poll shows.

Conducted Feb. 11-19, the telephone poll of 650 randomly selected Tennessee adults found 46 percent opposed to the plan but 40 percent in support of it, a statistical “dead heat,” given the poll’s four-percentage-point error margin. Another 12 percent of Tennesseans said they did not know, and the remaining 2 percent declined to answer.

However, opinions on the governor’s proposal divide sharply by race, with 63 percent of minorities in favor compared to only 37 percent of whites. Twenty-eight percent of minorities oppose the measure, while the rest give no answer. By contrast, 48 percent of whites oppose the plan, while the rest give no answer.

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Links for Students and Faculty

For over a decade, the Survey Group at MTSU has been providing independent, non-partisan, unbiased, scientifically valid public opinion data regarding major social, political, and ethical issues affecting Tennessee. The poll began in 1998 as a measure of public opinion in the 39 counties comprising Middle Tennessee and began measuring public opinion statewide in 2001.

A commercial polling firm gathers the data. Survey Group principals Dr. Ken Blake and Dr. Jason Reineke, members of the MTSU School of Journalism’s faculty, develop each poll’s questionnaire and interpret and disseminate its results in coordination with students in pursuing coursework or producing student media in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.

NOTE: Data files may be downloaded and analyzed with these restrictions: Researchers wishing to make academic or scientific use of these data must request and obtain permission in writing from the Director of the Office of Communication Research prior to presentation or publication. For general descriptive use, we ask only that the Middle Tennessee Poll at Middle Tennessee State University be cited as the source of the data.

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