The numbers are in for the Beacon Center’s third quarterly poll, giving some insight into a number of topics important to Tennesseans days before the 113th General Assembly and a presidential election year. A pool of 1,302 registered voters were asked a series of questions about education and the upcoming presidential race, among other things. The full poll results are available on Beacon’s website, but here are the key takeaways.
NUMBERS SHOW SCHOOL CHOICE HAS SUPPORT
In contrast to the heavy skepticism expressed by recent headlines, Beacon’s sample shows significant support for Governor Lee’s proposal to expand the Education Savings Account program statewide. A staggering 68 percent of participants are in favor of the policy proposal, while only 19 percent oppose the idea outright. Similarly, over half of 1,005 likely voters say they’re more likely to vote for a legislator who supports the ESA expansion, while 12 percent said they’d be less likely to vote them in.
Governor Lee announced his plan to allow “every Tennessee parent with the opportunity to choose the right education for their child” on November 28th of last year. His Education Freedom Scholarship Act earned full backing from the Speakers and Majority Leaders of both the House and the Senate.
“You shouldn’t have to choose your child’s education based on your zip code and where you live,” stated Arieale Munson, a mother of a Memphis student benefiting from school choice, in a video released by the governor’s office. “You should be able to have a choice whether you want to send your kids to a private school, a charter school, or a public school.”
POLL FAVORS TRUMP, EVEN IF CONVICTED
Of 993 likely voters, 63 percent say they would vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden. That lead narrows a bit (51 percent Trump, 25 percent Biden) when Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is included on the ballot, with Kennedy earning 16 percent of the vote.
Furthermore, 63 percent of 553 voters say they’d vote for Donald Trump even if he were convicted of the criminal charges he currently faces. In the unlikely event that Trump pulls out of the race, 46 percent of 501 likely Republican voters support Ron DeSantis for president; 18 percent would choose Vivek Ramaswamy, and 14 percent would vote for Nikki Haley.
Meanwhile, If Joe Biden decides not to run, 27 percent of 324 likely Democratic voters would want Kamala Harris to succeed him as president. Interestingly, Bernie Sanders beat out Hilary Clinton for second place by one percentage point.
GLORIA JOHNSON GETS A BOOST FROM DEMS
That same pool of voters ranks US Senate candidate Gloria Johnson far ahead of her main primary opponent, Marquita Bradshaw, with the former garnering 41 percent of the vote. This, even though a previous Beacon poll, published last October, showed Bradshaw as the more promising candidate in a general election against current Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn.
In that poll, Bradshaw received 36 percent support from a pool of 824 voters when pitted toe-to-toe with the incumbent, compared to 29 percent of 850 votes backing Gloria Johnson in a race against Blackburn. In both October polls Marsha Blackburn came out the winner, receiving just under half of the votes.
NATIONAL NEWS IS IN THE DOG HOUSE
Some good news for us here at the Pamphleteer: of 1,302 likely voters, 66 percent said they have some or a lot of faith in local media compared to 51 percent in national coverage. Meanwhile, 22 percent say they do not have any faith in national media, while only 9 percent shared that sentiment for local.