Poll: Tennesseans weigh in on Trump favorability, school vouchers, abortion, immigration and more

Poll: Tennesseans weigh in on Trump favorability, school vouchers, abortion, immigration and more

MURFREESBORO, TN (WMC) - Tennessee easily turned red for President Donald Trump in November when voters took to the polls to choose the 45th President of the United States. Now, with less than 100 days in office, a smaller percentage of people say they approve of the job he's doing as president.

But, it wasn't just his favorability they expressed their views on. Voters also weighed in on immigration, Obamacare, guns, abortion, school vouches, and more.

Trump vs Obama approval rating

Middle Tennessee State University conducted a poll of 600 registered voters regarding their view of the job President Trump is doing in office and top subjects important to Americans.

When asked if they "approve or disapprove" of the way Trump is handling his job as president, 51 percent of those voters approved and 32 percent disapproved. Only 17 percent said they did not know or didn't have an answer. Sixty-one percent of voters cast their ballot for Trump in the November election.

Trump is not far behind where President Barack Obama was in 2009 with the same poll. MTSU's 2009 poll regarding Obama's approval rating reflected 53 percent of people approved of the job he was doing while 27 percent disapproved.

For Tennessee, those were Obama's best approval ratings during his entire presidency, and Obama lost the state of Tennessee in the 2008 election.

President Trump won the state with 61 percent of the vote in November, yet the MTSU poll only has the two president's approval ratings separated by two percentage points.

The difference, according to associate director of the poll Jason Reineke, Ph.D., is a 'hangover' verses a 'honeymoon' phase for presidents.

"New presidents often enjoy a so-called honeymoon shortly after winning their first election, when unifying inaugural addresses and a public that hopes for the best contribute to even greater support and job approval than their winning vote totals,"  Reineke said. "But that doesn't appear to be the case for Trump."

"The numbers are very similar, but they represent more of a hangover for Trump, whose job approval at the outset of his presidency is actually worse than his winning vote total in the state," Reineke said.

Obamacare repeal

Although Tennesseans expressed their disapproval of Obamacare, they said they wanted the details of a replacement plan discussed and laid out before repealing the health care plan.

Out of the registered voters participating in the poll, sixty-one percent of Tennessee voters expressed an unfavorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act - known as Obamacare. Out of that 61 percent, 60 percent of them said they approved of repealing Obamacare. Only 31 percent approved of the Affordable Care Act and 32 percent said the should not repeal it.

Not surprisingly, the views of Obamacare were highly partisan down the lines. Eighty eight percent of Republicans had an unfavorable view of Affordable Care Act and 58 percent of Independents agreed, with only 16 percent of Democrats saying they didn't like Obamacare. When it comes to the question of repealing Obamacare, the results are fairly the same - 87 percent of Republicans support repealing the Affordable Care Act, 58 percent of Independents support it and just 16 percent of Democrats threw their support in favor of an Obamacare repeal.

Out of those who supported repealing the Affordable Care Act, 67 percent said Congress should wait to vote on a repeal until details and specifics of a replacement plan had been revealed. Only 28 percent thought Congress should have a repeal vote without specifics of a new plan.

Immigration suspension/ban

When it came to the issue of national security and views on immigration, just over half of Tennesseans (56 percent) support suspending immigration from 'terror regions,' regardless if that means turning away refugees in the process. Thirty-one percent were opposed to suspending immigration and the rest had no answer or opinion on the matter.

Similar numbers showed up when responders were asked about those who are already in the country but are undocumented immigrants. Despite the numbers being the same, the views were more benevolent and sympathetic.

Fifty-six percent of voters asked said the immigrants should be allowed to remain in the country if they are already here. They supported those people being allowed an opportunity to apply for citizenship. Thirty-one percent said the should be deported and only six percent said they should remain in the country but not be allowed to apply for citizenship.

As you would expect, these attitudes fall along strong party lines as well. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans support suspending immigration from specific countries, with 56 percent of Independents and 19 percent of Democrats agreeing. Eighty-eight percent of Democrats think illegal immigrants in the country should be allowed to remain and apply for citizenship, whereas 58 percent of Independents and 37 percent of Republicans agree with letting them stay and seek citizenship.

School vouchers

However, the results were much tighter when it came to the issue of the school voucher program. When asked if they would support giving most Tennessee families school vouchers that they could use to pay for sending their children to private or religious schools, the numbers were just a few points from each other.

Forty-five percent, of voters were opposed to the school voucher program and only 41 percent supported it. The rest of the voters had no opinion or answer.

There was not much change in the result when asked if they would support the school voucher program if the school vouchers were provided only to poor families who have students in low-achieving Tennessee schools.

Only 48 percent opposed the school voucher program for only poor families and 38 percent were in favor of providing school vouchers for children in low performing schools who are from poor families.

Handgun carry permits and handguns

Voters were also divided when it came to handguns and gun carrying permits.

Fifty-one percent, of voters said the law should require a permit to carry a handgun, 12 percent said the law should prohibit people from carrying a handgun, and 23 percent said the law should require a permit to carry a handgun if the handgun is concealed.


They numbers were also very tight, within just a few percentage points, when it came to views on abortion.

Thirty percent of voters said abortion should be illegal in 'most' cases, 26 percent said it should be illegal in 'all' cases, and 25 percent said it should be legal in 'most' cases. Only 11 percent said it should be legal in 'all' cases.

Out of those voters, 37 percent said access to more birth control and sex education, along with tougher abortion regulations, would be most likely the way to reduce the number of abortions.

"Most of these opinions divide sharply along political party lines," director of the MTSU poll Ken Blake, Ph.D., said. "But there are some perhaps surprising areas of cross-party agreement."

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