Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MTSU State Survey: Most Oppose Gun Law Changes; Unsure On Other Topics

The annual survey among Tennesseans from MTSU reveals strong opposition to allowing guns in parks, eateries and especially bars -- but much ambivalence remains on many other topics. Some highlights from their survey:

State: Most disapprove of handguns in public places

  • Most disapprove of carrying handguns in parks, eateries, bars.
  • Two in five to get swine flu vaccination.
  • Bottle-return bill draws strong support.
  • Economy also No. 1 state problem.
  • State mood barometer rises a bit, still higher than national barometer.
  • Which party should wield power? Tennesseans shrug.
  • Bredesen, legislative approval edge up.

"Meanwhile, as the clearest-yet outlines of health reform legislation emerge in Congress, Tennesseans agree on little about the issue other than its importance. While about two-thirds of state residents consider health reform either very or extremely important, only 36 percent generally support the proposals that have been discussed in Congress so far, 46 percent oppose them, and a sizable 17 percent are unsure.

And, as in Washington , attitudes here in Tennessee toward health reform divide sharply along party lines, with Republicans generally opposed, Democrats generally supportive, and independents wavering in the middle and often saying they just don’t know,” Dr. Ken Blake said.

The poll also finds that majorities of Tennesseans oppose letting handgun carry permit holders take their weapons into public parks, restaurants and especially bars. Fifty-four percent of state residents oppose allowing permit holders to carry handguns in parks; 60 percent, in restaurants; and 80 percent, in bars."

Asked which party should control the Legislature, 31 percent say the Democrats, 33 percent say the Republicans, and 35 percent say they don’t know.

Indecision is even higher regarding the governor’s race, despite the candidates already campaigning to replace Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. Twenty-five percent say they want a Democratic governor, but another 22 percent want a Republican governor, and a 51 percent majority say they have no preference right now. The rest give no answer.

Finally, 71 percent of Tennesseans say that the recession has hurt them financially, up from spring’s 66 percent. But worry about the future economy has decreased to 33 percent from spring’s 43 percent. These and other economic indicators in the poll suggest a cautious optimism among Tennesseans that the recession is abating."

Conducted by Middle Tennessee State University ’s College of Mass Communication , the telephone poll of 716 randomly selected Tennessee adults has an error margin of plus or minus four percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. Theoretically, this means that a sample of this size should produce a statistical portrait of the population within four percentage points 95 out of 100 times.

The Survey Group at MTSU provides independent, non-partisan and unbiased 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.

The full report is available here, both nationally and here in Tennessee.

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