Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney among Tennessee Republicans and either one of the candidates would beat President Barack Obama statewide, according to the results of a Middle Tennessee State University poll released Wednesday.
The MTSU College of Mass Communications conducted the scientifically valid telephone poll Feb. 13 through 25 by randomly selecting 646 Tennessee adults. The poll has an error margin of plus or minus four percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.
The full results of the poll can be found here .
Forty percent of Tennessee Republicans in the poll favor Santorum compared to 19 percent who prefer Romney. Another 13 percent support Newt Gingrich, and 11 percent back Ron Paul.
“Tennessee appears to be heading into Santorum’s Super Tuesday column,” said Dr. Jason Reineke, an assistant professor in the college’s School of Journalism and the MTSU Poll’s associate director. “Election watchers would be wise to remember, though, just how many factors polling cannot measure or foresee, especially in the context of a primary election.”
Asked about whether or not they support repealing the state law that went into effect Jan.1 requiring voters to present a photo ID when voting, 82 percent of those polled said the law was “a good idea that should be kept in place,” 11 percent considered the law “a bad idea that should be done away with,” and the rest were unsure.
Eighty-three percent of Tennesseans polled (up from 71 percent in the fall MTSU poll) stated they are aware of the voter ID law, but Tennesseans remain confused about some aspects of the law, including what forms of ID were acceptable.
Other poll findings include:
Less than a fifth (18 percent) of Tennesseans think the state’s new public school teacher evaluation system is increasing the quality of education. Nineteen percent think it’s making no difference, and 16 percent think it’s decreasing the quality. Those in the largest group say they simply don’t know (48 percent).
On another education issue, half of poll respondents think current average class sizes in Tennessee are about right, while 38 percent think public school classrooms in Tennessee should have fewer students on average. Only about four percent think the state’s public school classrooms should have more students on average, and the rest aren’t sure.
With the arrival of Tennessee’s spring tornado season, only about 30 percent of state residents live in a household equipped with “a special National Weather Service radio that is programmed to sound an alarm when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning” for their county. Fifty-two percent say there is some other device in or near their home — like a cell phone or a tornado siren — that would automatically sound an alert if a tornado warning were issued for their county. A third have no alert system, and about one in four Tennesseans say they usually know about severe weather no more than a few minutes before it arrives.