On Monday, Channel 2 Action News released an automated poll that put metro Atlanta support for a transportation sales tax at 42 percent – with the measure gaining a bare majority only in Fulton and DeKalb counties.
Twenty-four hours later, the campaign arm of the metro Atlanta pro-sales tax campaign released news of its own poll, completed two weeks ago, that shows support for the measure in the winning column at 51 percent.
Jeff Dickerson, spokesman for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, said there was no causal relationship between the two events noted above. But the first paragraph of the memo below – basically a description of the Rosetta Stone/Channel 2 poll – argues otherwise:
TO: Citizens for Transportation Mobility
FROM: David B. Hill, Ph.D., Director [Hill Research Consultants]
DATE: May 21, 2012
SUBJECT: Polling results
From May 6 through May 8, we conducted a telephone poll of 600 voters likely to vote in the July 31 transportation referendum. Our polling used live operators, ensuring the integrity of our results and allowing us to ask questions in a more valid fashion than that used by automated “robo-polls” you may see in the news.
This memorandum summarizes some encouraging (as well as challenging) results of the poll:
1. We are leading on the ballot, with 51 percent voting YES and 36 percent voting NO.
a. The 15-point advantage is significantly greater than our December poll where we led by just 8 points, 48 percent YES to 40 percent NO.
b. Being just over the 50 percent threshold, we need to redouble our efforts to attract undecided and swing voters to our side to ensure victory
2. The intensity factor cuts both ways. NO voters are slightly more likely than YES voters (73 percent versus 69 percent) to say that they definitely will go to the polls and cast a ballot. But YES voters are slightly more likely than NO voters (62 percent versus 58 percent) to say they “feel strongly” about their positions. These two findings suggest that we need to concentrate more effort on turning out our vote.
3. Our current vote share of Democrats is 59 percent YES. Among Republicans, 41 percent are YES voters. A majority of suburbanites, 52 percent, are voting YES.
4. Voters are very concerned about the traffic crisis that the referendum projects seek to resolve. Of those polled, 87% agreed with the statement that “metro Atlanta has a traffic problem and something must be done about it.” Even those not yet voting YES know something must be done about traffic.
5. Our tests of advertising recall suggest that the first wave of TV and radio was very efficient for a relatively modest buy. A significant slice of the electorate is beginning to understand the issue as basically a traffic problem that can be characterized as “tying Atlanta in a knot.”
We will continue monitoring the electorate more frequently as we close in on Election Day.
“Suburbanites” are defined as those voters living outside I-285. No crosstabs or county-by-county breakdowns were made available. No margin of error was stated, but it should be in the +/- 4 to 5 percentage point range — you statisticians out there can correct me if I’m wrong.
“[The poll] shows some progress. It shows that the education campaign is working,” Dickerson said. “We’ve got a lot more work to do. Fifty-one percent isn’t sufficient. “
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider