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No. 653: Push Polls and Automobiles

No. 653: Push Polls and Automobiles

🗓 Today, Davis talks about how much citizens in Nashville rely on cars and Megan reports on a TEA push poll regarding the proposed ESA program.

Good afternoon, everyone.

It's been a while since we've talked about cars, so I figured I'd dig up an old piece laying out why a more mature approach to Nashville's growth issues would center them in the discussion instead of portraying them as avatars of evil.

I'm exaggerating, but I don't think it's unfair to say that Metro leadership has expressed more favoritism toward bus riders and transit advocates than to the vast, vast majority of people who navigate the city every day in their cars.

In the Nashville section, Megan discusses a push poll released by the state teacher's union about the proposed ESA program. Big surprise: it showed people aren't as enthusiastic about it as you might've thought.


From the Archive


Despite activists' best efforts, cars are not going anywhere anytime soon.

From Davis Hunt

I like my truck
I like my girlfriend
I like to take her out to dinner
I like a movie now and then
...but I love this car.

Toby Keith, 'I Love This Bar' (Redux)

In Nashville, you need a car. It’s inconvenient and egregiously time-consuming to navigate the city in any other manner. Tennessee, in fact, is among the most car-centric states in the country. According to a study from, Memphis is the most car-dependent metro area in the country, with Nashville close behind it at number two.

Another study ranks Nashville second in cities with the highest rate of car ownership. According to this study, 96 percent of households in Nashville have access to a vehicle—and for good reason.

Nashville is also among the least densely populated cities in the country, with an average density of 1,505 people per square mile. Compare that to, say, Seattle, Washington—among the least car-dependent cities in the country—and its 9,248 people per square mile, and it's easy to understand why cars are so necessary for Nashville residents.

Even despite these very firm realities, there continues to be a loud contingent here clamoring for bus line expansions, umpteen bike lanes, new sidewalks, and all manner of bright fluorescent road markers in an attempt to inch the city toward becoming some kind of walkable utopia.

Continue reading...


From Megan Podsiedlik

On January 5th, we wrote about an odd survey that started to circulate throughout the state. Focused almost exclusively on school vouchers, it made its rounds immediately following the release of the Beacon Center’s quarterly poll, which showed a whopping 68 percent of Tennesseans support the governor’s proposal to expand school choice. Yesterday, the Tennessean unveiled new poll results with the headline, “Tennessee voucher expansion opposed by 55% of Republican primary voters, poll finds.”

The questions from a poll conducted by co/efficient on behalf of the Tennessee Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state, sounded a tad familiar. In fact, all the questions made available by the Tennessean were identical to those included in the push poll we reported on previously.

If the polls are indeed one and the same, then the co/efficient survey included over 20 leading voucher questions and had no verification process to certify that participants were registered Tennessee voters. This, compared with the Beacon Center’s question, which garnered support from 68 percent of certified Tennessee voters whose demographics reflect that of the state.

Compare: one of the co/efficient questions vs. the Beacon Center’s question.

For the most part, even state Democrats aren’t clinging to the implications of yesterday’s report. Though both the Tenenssean and the TN Holler circulated the article, it only earned a “retweet” from  Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) and a retort from Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville), who claims the Beacon Center “is a member of the Koch-incubated State Policy Network— it's not a credible source on vouchers.” 

At the beginning of the month, the Tennessee Journal reported on Beacon’s poll, laying out some of the pushback we may see during floor discussions: “The question did not mention the terms ‘voucher’ or ‘taxpayer funded,’ which opponents are sure to hammer away at once the legislative debate begins in earnest,” read TNJ’s newsletter issued January 5th. “Lee and other backers have said the program will be funded from outside the normal student funding formula, likely in an effort to defuse criticism that vouchers siphon funding away from traditional public schools.”


A bill to end protections for Tennessee wetlands draws pushback (Lookout) State lawmakers are considering a rollback of protections for nearly half a million acres of wetlands in Tennessee, a proposal that is raising concerns over its potential to worsen flooding, deplete and degrade drinking water and impact hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.

Hot slaw vying to become an official state food of Tennessee (Axios) Hot slaw is a well-established staple in Cleveland, Tennessee. The city's annual hot slaw festival is a top tourism draw, and local grocery stores stock the yellow-tinted delicacy.

Did SmileDirectClub bring jobs to Tennessee? A complicated look at the numbers. (Channel 5) SmileDirectClub was supposed to bring more than 2,000 new jobs to the state. But those same documents show the company failed to do that. In fact, it appears the company only added 1,108 new jobs and then began cutting workers. When the company closed in December, it appeared it only had about 650 employees.


  • Ongoing construction on Division Street causes road collapse (Fox17)
  • Butterlamp Bread & Beverage to open in Vintage South's Eastwood Village development this spring (NBJ)
  • Pinnacle lands naming rights for Nashville Yards concert venue (Post)
  • Chicken restaurant eyed for The Nations (Post)


View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.


🎸 Kelsey Abbott @ The East Room, 8p, $12.83, Info
+ Nashville- based indie singer-songwriter

🎸 Oliver Bates Craven @ Jane's Hideaway, 8p, Info
+ folk rock

🪕 Bluegrass & 2-4-1's Featuring Sheriff Scott & The Deputies @ Tennessee Brew Works, 6p, Free, Info
+ bluegrass 6-8pm and 2-for-1 craft beer specials all day

🪕 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info

In case you missed it...

📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

No. 652: The Sting
📅 Today, Davis talks about sting operations and Megan introduces Metro’s new lobbyist.
No. 651: To blame, or not to blame
📅 Today, Davis talks about gun thefts from cars, Miles previews the Super Bowl, and Megan updates us on the governor’s office and looks at what Justin Jones has been up to.
No. 650: No one likes the TSA
📅 Today, Davis dismantles the TSA, Jerod reviews The Iron Claw, and Megan rounds up the latest from our two senators and the mayor’s office.
No. 649: Constitutional Crisis?!
📅 Today, Davis talks about the border, Hamilton joins us to talk about the promise of nuclear energy in a small Middle Tennessee town, Megan thinks about transit, and we furnish our weekly film rundown.
No. 648: Nothing to See Here
🏛 Business as usual, nothing to see here, at this week’s Metro Council meeting.


  • 🤼 The Iron Claw is a Heartland epic. Of course it isn’t an Oscar contender. (Read)
  • ☢️ A small Tennessee town's forgotten history as a nuclear leader (Read)
  • 🤡 Metro Arts launches initiative to 'return land, money, and resources' to 'Indigenous, African, and Asian peoples' (Read)
  • 🖊 G.K. Chesterton's commentary on Nashville and the broader South from his 1921 tour of the US still resonates (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.