MTSU Poll: Tennesseans View State Gov’t Leaders More Favorably than Washington Pols

Additional releases for polls related to presidential contenders, Tennessee Promise also attached.

Press release from MTSU Poll; February 5, 2015:

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — In general, Tennesseans rate their state government leaders better than those in the federal government, according to the latest statewide MTSU Poll.

“It is a very interesting time to be a political observer in the state of Tennessee,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. “State and national issues are currently overlapping in fascinating ways.”

The poll randomly surveyed 600 adult residents statewide Jan. 25-27 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Haslam riding high

Gov. Bill Haslam’s approval rating has rebounded noticeably to 64 percent compared to a year ago (47 percent in the spring 2014 poll), with only 18 percent of Tennesseans disapproving and the remaining 19 percent saying they don’t know or refuse to answer the question.

Across demographics and political affiliation, pluralities or majorities approve of the job the governor is doing.

Legislature holding its own

Meanwhile, a 49 percent plurality of Tennesseans approve of the job the Tennessee General Assembly is doing, while only 25 percent disapprove and 26 percent say that they don’t know or refuse to answer.

Approval has a partisan tilt, however, with 67 percent of self-identified Republicans saying they approve and only 9 percent disapproving. That compares to a 42-percent plurality of Democrats disapproving while 35 percent approve.

Among independents, 49 percent approve, 29 percent disapprove.

Still no fans of Obama

Turning to the federal government, only 37 percent of Tennesseans approve of President Barack Obama’s performance, while 52 percent disapprove and the rest say they don’t know or refuse to answer.

These figures are comparable to Obama’s approval numbers in the state since spring of 2011, Reineke noted.

Predictably, Tennessee Democrats tend to strongly approve of Obama (80 percent) and Republicans tend to disapprove even more strongly (87 percent). Independents also tend to disapprove (57 percent).

Congress even worse overall

The U.S. Congress, however, fares worse with a 70 percent disapproval. Only 15 percent of Tennesseans approve of how Congress is handling its job and the rest don’t know or refuse to answer. Furthermore, majorities disapprove across demographic and political differences.

Tennesseans approve of their own U.S. senators markedly more than of Congress as a whole, though.

Alexander: A 47 percent plurality approve of the job Lamar Alexander is doing, while 32 percent disapprove and 21 percent say they don’t know or refuse to answer.

Corker: A similar 44 percent plurality approve of the job Bob Corker is doing while 27 percent disapprove and 29 percent say they don’t know or refuse to answer.

Find previous MTSU Poll results at www.mtsupoll.org.

Methodology

Interviews for the poll were conducted by Issues & Answers Network Inc., which completed 600 telephone surveys among a random sample of Tennessee residents aged 18 and over.

Data was collected using Tennessee statewide RDD sample with a mix of 80 percent landline and 20 percent cell phones. The average interview length was 13 minutes.

Quotas by gender and geographic region were implemented to ensure the sampled respondents were representative of Tennessee’s adult population. U.S. Census Bureau data were used to determine the gender distribution each of Tennessee’s Grand Divisions: East, Middle, and West.

The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points, meaning that we are 95 percent confident that the actual result lies within 4 percentage points (in either direction) of the result our sample produced.

These online, interactive graphics are available for use.

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Press release from MTSU Poll; February 5, 2015:

Tennesseans up to speed on most 2016 presidential contenders
But some potential candidates not as well known

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — While many potential 2016 candidates for president are well known to Tennesseans, some are surprisingly less so, according to the latest statewide MTSU Poll.

“At this point, when potential candidates are still deciding whether to run and there has been little active campaigning or staking out of positions, we decided that name recognition is the best way to assess the candidates’ standing,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.

“But considering that U.S. Sen. Bob Corker from Tennessee hasn’t ruled out a run for the White House, we did want to ask Tennesseans whether they thought he should go Tennesseans seem less than keen on potential presidential aspirations for Corker, though, despite his rising political profile in recent years thanks to bipartisan congressional efforts on fiscal issues and other matters.

Only 11 percent of poll respondents said the Chattanooga Republican should run, while 41 percent said he should not run for president. A 46 percent plurality said they were unsure whether he should run or not, and the rest refused to answer the question.

The poll randomly surveyed 600 adult residents statewide Jan. 25-27 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Meanwhile, Tennesseans are familiar with some of the likely contenders for president in 2016, but not others.

Democrats: On the Democratic party side, wide majorities said that they had heard of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (98 percent) and Vice President Joe Biden (93 percent); but most said they had not heard of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who may run as a Democrat (68 percent), or former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia (70 percent).

Republicans: Frontrunners in terms of name recognition among the potential Republican candidates include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (89 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (83 percent), and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (78 percent).

A second tier of recognized, possible Republican candidates is made up of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky (69 percent); former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (67 percent); former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, winner of Tennessee’s 2012 Republican primary (59 percent); U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (57 percent); and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida (53 percent).

Most Tennesseans have not heard of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (58 percent) or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (62 percent).

Of all the Republicans mentioned, name recognition was highest for 2012 Republican nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (96 percent), who was rumored to be considering a third run for the oval office while the poll was in the field but has since formally bowed out of the race for his party’s nomination.

Find previous MTSU Poll results at www.mtsupoll.org.

Methodology

Interviews for the poll were conducted by Issues & Answers Network Inc., which completed 600 telephone surveys among a random sample of Tennessee residents aged 18 and over.

Data was collected using Tennessee statewide RDD sample with a mix of 80 percent landline and 20 percent cell phones. The average interview length was 13 minutes.

Quotas by gender and geographic region were implemented to ensure the sampled respondents were representative of Tennessee’s adult population. U.S. Census Bureau data were used to determine the gender distribution each of Tennessee’s Grand Divisions: East, Middle, and West.

The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points, meaning that we are 95 percent confident that the actual result lies within 4 percentage points (in either direction) of the result our sample produced.

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Press release from MTSU Poll; February 5, 2015:

Tennesseans strongly support ‘Tennessee Promise’ higher ed initiative

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The “Tennessee Promise” community college initiative enjoys strong support from a large majority of Tennesseans, according to the latest statewide MTSU Poll.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan, which makes two-year community colleges and technical schools free for recent high school graduates, has been cited as inspiration for a similar proposal at the federal level. Tennessee’s program launches with the high school Class of 2015.

The poll found that 79 percent of Tennesseans approve of the program. Only 12 percent oppose it, 8 percent aren’t sure, and the rest gave no answer.

“While the overall support is very high, a deeper look inside the numbers shows less enthusiasm among Republicans,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.

Since President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address a few weeks ago, proposals to provide free community college have been front and center in the national conversation regarding higher education.

Haslam’s program, which is one plan that Obama says he used as a basis for his proposal, enjoys overwhelming support in the state. But that support is significantly stronger among Democrats and independents than among the governor’s fellow Republicans.

Ninety percent of Democrats favor the program, as do 82 percent of independents. But a significantly lower 70 percent of Republicans express support.

Find previous MTSU Poll results at www.mtsupoll.org.

Methodology

Interviews for the poll were conducted by Issues & Answers Network Inc., which completed 600 telephone surveys among a random sample of Tennessee residents aged 18 and over.

Data was collected using Tennessee statewide RDD sample with a mix of 80 percent landline and 20 percent cell phones. The average interview length was 13 minutes.

Quotas by gender and geographic region were implemented to ensure the sampled respondents were representative of Tennessee’s adult population. U.S. Census Bureau data were used to determine the gender distribution each of Tennessee’s Grand Divisions: East, Middle, and West.

The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points, meaning that we are 95 percent confident that the actual result lies within 4 percentage points (in either direction) of the result our sample produced.