How Tennesseans will vote on proposed amendments to the state constitution remain uncertain, but Republican incumbents Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander hold substantial leads over their challengers, according to a statewide poll by MTSU.
Amendment 3, which would constitutionally ban a state income tax, drew the support of 30 registered voters, according to the telephone poll of 600 registered voters in the state. Twenty-five percent oppose it, and 24 percent are unsure, while 14 percent said they would not cast a vote at all. The rest declined to answer.
“Given the statistical tie between supporters and opponents as well as the large number of voters who are still making up up their minds, we can’t say for sure from these poll results how Amendment 3 will fare,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll.
Even if a majority of voters say “yes” to the amendment, it will still need votes equal to a majority of the number of votes cast in the governor’s race. In the MTSU Poll sample, 166 likely voters said they would vote for the amendment, and 416 said they would for a candidate in the running for governor.
“That comes to only about 40 percent,” said Reineke. “So, Amendment 3 appears to have some ground to cover among all of those voters who are still undecided about it.”
In the race for governor, Haslam leads his democratic opponent Charles V. “Charlie” Brown 50 percent to 19 percent of voters, with 19 percent undecided.
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander leads his Democratic opponent Gordon Ball 42 percent to 26 percent, with 15 percent undecided.
“If Ball could persuade most of the still-undecided voters to choose him, he would have a shot at beating Alexander,” said Reineke.
However, Reineke said this shift is unlikely.
Ten percent of respondents said they would vote for a minor party candidate, and the remainder said they wouldn’t cast a vote, or declined to answer the question.
The poll was conducted by interviewers with Issues & Answers Network Inc. between October 22-26.
Here is a graphical representation of the poll results:
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