MTSU poll: Amendment 1 question "too close to call" - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

MTSU poll: Amendment 1 question "too close to call"

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A new poll by Middle Tennessee State University calls the upcoming vote on Tennessee's proposed constitutional amendment on abortion “too close to call.”

Known as Amendment 1, the question facing voters is should the state's constitution be changed to allow state lawmakers to regulate abortion.

It's one of four constitutional amendments that voters will decide in the upcoming November 4 election.

But much like the question of abortion across the country, in Tennessee the question will face a close race, with both sides posing their arguments with passion and examples.

MTSU's poll sampled 600 registered voters, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, showed 39% in favor of the amendment, 32% opposed, 15% undecided, and the rest not voting on the amendment or declining to answer.

READ MORE | MTSU Poll on Amendment 1

“For many people, the biggest surprises in this part of our poll probably will be just how close this race is and how important the relatively large number of still undecided voters are,” said Ken Blake, Ph.D., director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. The 7-percentage-point lead that supporters hold over opponents “is just a shade too large to be considered a statistical tie,” Blake said.

“But the undecideds could swing the outcome either way on election night. Also, among those who either have voted already or say they definitely plan to vote, the measure leads 38% to 33%, a slightly narrower margin that can't rule out a statistical tie among members of that group.”

READ MORE | Early voting locations, times

Jason Reineke, Ph.D., associate director of the poll, added that it is also unclear whether the amendment will draw a majority of the number of votes cast in the race for governor, a requirement for passage.

“In our poll, 214 likely voters said they are in favor of the amendment, while 416 likely voters support a gubernatorial candidate. If we go by those figures alone, the number of votes in favor of the amendment is equal to 51% of the total number of decided, likely votes in the gubernatorial race,” Reineke explained. “This would be enough to push the amendment past the 50% plus one vote threshold required by the state constitution, though just barely.”

According to the data gathered by MTSU during their poll, about 42% of those interviewed said they had heard or read “a lot” about the amendment, while 44% answered “a little,” and 10% responded with “nothing at all.” The rest weren't sure or gave no answer.

MTSU's poll also showed that race emerged as a factor in voting preferences about the amendment, with significantly more whites favoring the amendment (47%) than minorities (18%). Similarly, more men favored the amendment (44%) than women (34%).

Support also was significantly higher among self-described evangelical Christians (43%) than among those who did not identify themselves as such (29%).

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