Analysis: TSPLOST support growing, poll finds

Augusta region among strongest backing in state for road tax, survey finds

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 7:55 AM
Last updated Thursday, July 26, 2012 1:42 PM
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ATLANTA -- A survey suggests the transportation-tax referendum has a reasonable chance to pass in four of the state’s 12 regions if campaign messages reach enough voters, according to a memo to supporters.

The memo, obtained by Morris News Service, shows voters in the Central Savannah River Area that centers on Augusta were the most supportive, followed by those in the Middle Georgia region around Macon and the Southwest region around Albany. The Southern Georgia region that includes Tifton and Valdosta was also bullish.

Least open to the tax were the Mountains region around Gainesville, Northwest around Rome and Three Rivers that includes Newnan, LaGrange and Carrollton.

While the campaign supporting the tax outside of Atlanta, called Connect Georgia, declined to discuss the memo or the poll it was based on, spokeswoman Cindy Miller did say that negative news coverage in Atlanta doesn’t reflect feelings in other parts of Georgia.

“The support around the state does not surprise us at all,” she said.

Connect Georgia polled 300 likely primary voters in seven of the districts between June 13-18. They were asked their view of the tax, and then they heard several messages in support of it and were asked again what they thought.

A majority of those surveyed in the CSRA (59 percent), Middle Georgia (51 percent) and Southwest (51) regions were for it before even hearing the sales pitch. After the spiel, 57 percent in the Southern also warmed up to it.

The test messages boosted support by 6-8 percentage points.

The punch of the message pushed up responses to a bare majority of 51 percent in the Northeast and 50 percent in the Coastal regions.

Those living in the Mountains region started with just 40 percent support, so even after hearing the magic phrases only 46 percent were persuaded.

“As a general rule, we like to see referendum elections polling well over 50 percent heading into election day,” wrote the unnamed authors of the memo. “The majority of undecided voters will most likely vote no, so it is essential that we are able to communicate effectively to as many voters as possible before election day.”

They distributed the memo June 26 in hopes it would convince supporters to pitch in for a multimedia campaign after they saw the cause offered some promise. As they bluntly note, they didn’t have the necessary funds at the time.

Miller said in the four weeks since, money has begun to flow. Organizers spent it where it was raised instead of concentrating where they have the best prospects.

“Our challenge in the opportunities is we have more opportunities to win than we have resources to win,” she said.

Another challenge is turnout. A chart with the memo shows its best chances are in regions with more Democrats and blacks.

Unfortunately for supporters, blacks generally are a smaller share of turnout in primaries than they are in general elections. At the same time, a dearth of Democratic candidates means few primaries for that party. Democrats can vote in Republican primaries if they don’t simply stay home.

One argument Miller said is striking a chord is that the tax will result in jobs for each region that passes it. Using a ratio of jobs to spending developed by the Federal Highway Administration, the campaign figured the estimated taxes generated over the 10 year life of the tax would yield 43,000 jobs in the Coastal region, 23,000 in CSRA and 26,600 in the Northeast.

“When you’re in the Coastal Region and you’re talking about getting to and from the port, that resonates well,” Miller said.

Another selling point capitalizes on the Two Georgias and distrust for Atlanta. The projects benefiting from the tax are in the local region and were picked by local officials.

That may be backfiring in regions blanketed by Atlanta’s media market, like Three Rivers and Northeast. There is also a vibrant, organized opposition in Metro Atlanta which isn’t as robust farther from the capital.

Still, an informal survey of political reporters around the state showed as much doubt about passage in Athens, Augusta, Brunswick and Savannah as in Atlanta. A few predicted it might pass in another area, but all said it was doomed in the regions they personally cover.

Of course, a roll call of reporters is certainly not scientific, and a month-old poll isn’t going to be valid either just days before the votes are counted.

However, the Connect Georgia survey does show there is a possibility that a well-executed campaign could lead to success in a few parts of the state.

Miller said the organization is actively seeking donations until the eve of the election. There’s still time to get out new mailers, and broadcast time or phone calls can be ramped up the moment each additional contribution comes in.

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Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 07/24/12 - 08:23 am
10
0
A Tactic Often Used

A tactic used to build support is to publish results of some type of phoney baloney poll that shows results favorable to your candidate or cause. I'm not buying the CSRA is in favor of this $840 a year per family tax, nor any of the other places in the state named.

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 07/24/12 - 08:25 am
10
0
Push Poll

I was on the receiving end of this push poll a week or so ago. Of course, those "messages in support" did not sway me at all. I'm not surprised that suggestions from an anonymous phone caller would change the opinions of 6-8 percent of Georgians answering the phone.

If our region votes for the T-SPLOST and the Atlanta region does not, here is what will happen. The gasoline per-gallon tax paid here in this region will be completely siphoned off to Atlanta, leaving us with no more road money than we have today, but with an additional regional tax burden.

Vote NO!

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 07/24/12 - 09:11 am
9
0
Someone has been fabbing or fudging numbers again

Quick example of how a polls can be fudged.

A major state newspaper has been running a reader Poll for since June 2012. Over 50,000+ ( or insert reader circulation) have been contacted and the overwhelming response from readers (those making online comments) has been negative.

A "accidentally leaked" poll done by who knows who and conducted in a way not disclosed is a classic example of last minute attempts of Selling It due to poor positive polling numbers.
===============================================

Wrong is wrong and again I say TSPLOST is a tax placed on the many to provide for the few.

The 25% of discretionary funds in TSPLOST to be applied "as needed" by local politicians has them willing to say anything for a chance to get their hands once again in our quickly draining pockets.

If the roads are so badly needed, then have those counties that failed to plan, each propose and then individually vote on TSPLOST's their counties projects.

Its bad enough as a Richmond Co. resident I have support the wasteful political whims of downtown, but now they want me to fund Columbia co. and Atlanta and other places also?

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 07/24/12 - 08:59 am
9
0
Our infrastructure is superb.

Our infrastructure is superb. It was a prime reason Starbucks chose this area. Anybody that says we need to fund 800 million in road repair and development via a TSPLOST is in line to make money from it passing. And that is why I would require full-disclosure before signing on with a new tax. I call Bologna!

VOTE NO and then change your appearance and VOTE NO again!

useful
633
Points
useful 07/24/12 - 09:04 am
1
10
I have voted for this small

I have voted for this small one penny tax,that will make our roads better and safer to ride on.

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 07/24/12 - 09:32 am
10
0
Poll of Readers

I've done the official Riverman's Georgians for Responsible Government Poll with readers right here on the AC. The results overwhelmingly showed opposition to T-Splost that will add $8400 in taxes to the average family over the next decade.

avidreader
3128
Points
avidreader 07/24/12 - 09:32 am
8
0
No! No! No!

I will continue with my mantra -- No! To paraphrase a post from last week's Chronicle, "In politics, discretion = power." Any money to be used with discretion by a politico is money wasted. One may think that a penny per dollar extra is a drop in the bucket, but over the course of a year, a middle class family will see the effects.

I vote NO!

Riverman1
82436
Points
Riverman1 07/24/12 - 09:51 am
6
0
F4atherTime, Good Point

If you can find an honest poll on this side of the Iron Curtain that will get people to say they want to pay almost a thousand dollars a year more in taxes we should hire them to clean up the image of downtown Augusta. Because they can dang sure throw out the bull stuff.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 07/24/12 - 10:07 am
7
0
It Is Much More Than Pennies.

It Is Much More Than Pennies. It will add a lot more than that if you consider major purchases such as car sales and home improvements. Also, we should brace ourselves for paying sales taxes on medical fees and other services as required in the new Obamacare.

I agree, government has too much of our money now. Ron Cross is spending what? $24,000.00 to drink coffee annually. Are we buying their lunch too?

Stop the tax increase and manage a budget.

dichotomy
32136
Points
dichotomy 07/24/12 - 10:45 am
6
1
"Nobody I come in contact

"Nobody I come in contact with is for TSPLOST. "

I assume you are coming in contact with taxPAYERS who also will be paying increased income taxes starting in January of next year and over the same 10 year period that they will be giving TSPLOST an extra $8400 they will also have to be paying increased taxes (3.8% on houses, taxes on medical devices, etc.) and higher premiums (or penalties) for Obamacare.

The tax burden will be crashing down on our heads in 2013 and 2014 folks and there is absolutely NO SANE REASON to voluntarily give the hogs grunting at the trough more slop. They get plenty and they have wasted and mismanaged it. It's THEIR fault for wasting it, not our fault for not paying enough. Cut them off and make them go back to providing basic government service, like building and maintaining roads, BEFORE THEY DO ANYTHING ELSE. Vote NO on TSPLOST and NO on any other xSPLOST or xSPLOST renewal. They get enough already.....make them spend it wisely, effienctly, and for the services we intended our government to provide.

augusta citizen
9122
Points
augusta citizen 07/24/12 - 11:56 am
3
0
NO

Vote No, I like the change your appearance and vote No again!!

nevertoolate
291
Points
nevertoolate 07/24/12 - 12:42 pm
4
0
All I know is...

if this stupid tax is passed, I'm selling my house in Columbia County and I'm moving my business and my residence to South Carolina. Had enough of the political entitlement attitude. I'm SO over it already.

Fiat_Lux
15137
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/24/12 - 01:36 pm
5
0
Georgia already is one of the worst states for taxes

We've let 'em get away with these shenanigans for so many years that they think it's the only way to deal with money problems.

Vote no, and hell no.

blues550
374
Points
blues550 07/24/12 - 04:41 pm
0
0
Absolutely No!
Unpublished

No! No! No! No! No!

Dixieman
14425
Points
Dixieman 07/24/12 - 07:19 pm
3
0
I'm against it

Good budget: Figure out what we need, then raise enough in tax money to fund it.
Bad budget: Let's just grab 1% of every purchase, then figure out what to spend it on. Whooopppeee! Party for road contractors at my place.
Vote against this nonsense.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 07/26/12 - 03:23 pm
1
2
?

?

KSL
126832
Points
KSL 07/25/12 - 12:54 am
2
0
I don't know Bantana. But do

I don't know Bantana. But do you ever buy something from someone who has had to pay sales tax on the items or parts of items you have bought? For instance, if you have any type of construction work done around your house, it is usually lump sum. For example, last year I had 23 new windows installed in my house. My bill did not include sales tax, but I am not stupid enough to think it was not included in the price quoted for the windows.

And then there are those progrressives out there proposing sales tax on services not just products. Then that figure becomes inadequate.

KSL
126832
Points
KSL 07/24/12 - 10:48 pm
1
0
The sales tax price that all

The sales tax price that all businesses have that do business with you come in to play. They aren't going to just absorb the cost.

KSL
126832
Points
KSL 07/24/12 - 10:58 pm
1
0
Sometimes it doesn't pay too

Sometimes it doesn't pay too be too simplistic.

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