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Saba Long

Latest polls show the Charter School Amendment vote will be close

By Saba Long

Framing the argument is a key role in campaign messaging. So opponents of the charter school amendment, also referenced as Amendment One, may have just received a tip from a new autocall poll conducted on the issue.

The poll, administered on Oct. 4 and 5, covered two categories.

1. Support for changing the Georgia Constitution by passing Amendment One, and

2. The possible impact of the preamble on ‘undecided’ and ‘leaning no’ voters.

Conducted by HEG-GPS, a partnership led by Fred Hicks and Dr. Jeff Ling, the poll claims to show growing opposition for the charter school amendment.

Survey recipients were asked:

If the election were today, would you vote yes or no to the following
question, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state
or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local

a. I will definitely vote no to changing the Constitution
b. I will probably vote no to changing the Constitution
c. Unsure
d. I will probably vote yes to changing the Constitution
e. I will definitely vote yes to changing the Constitution

Of the 1,216 likely Georgia voters polled, 34.2 percent responded they would definitely vote no and 18.06 percent responded “probably no”. In other words, a majority of voters indicated they were definitely or likely voting against the charter school amendment, a first among the recent polls released.

The survey poll consisted of 53 percent women. Also 61 percent were identified as strong or leaning Republican voters. Just more than 23 percent of voters responded they were unsure of their vote with roughly 30 days remaining until the election. Among Democratic women, 51.75 percent indicated they were definitely voting against the measure, with 26.57 percent undecided.

The second category of the poll questioned the preamble and its influence on the undecided vote. Much like the July T-SPLOST election, opponents of the Charter
School Amendment have expressed their displeasure of the wording of the preamble to appear before the ballot question.

The poll asked the following:

There is a preamble that will appear before the previous question.
It reads “Provides for improving student achievement and parental
involvement through more public charter school options.”

a. Yes, if I read this preamble I would be more likely to vote to change the

b. No, this preamble does not make me more likely to vote to change the constitution

Nearly three out of every four respondents indicated the preamble would not cause them to change their vote, while 26.25 percent responded that it would influence their vote. In an emailed statement, Dr. Jeff Ling noted, “Based on our polling, the preamble could result in a 10 percent impact due to constructional changes currently packaged with the change.”

In a phone conversation, pollster Fred Hicks mentioned that slightly more than 60 percent of people who supported T-SPLOST, oppose Amendment One. Also, slightly more than 50 percent of people who oppose T-SPLOST also oppose Amendment One. The remainder of the month is packed with community forums debating the pros and cons of the issue with plenty of time on the clock to sway the electorate.

Saba Long

Saba Long is a communications and political professional who lives in downtown Atlanta. She serves as the senior council aide and communications liaison for Post 2 At-Large Atlanta City Councilman Aaron Watson. Most recently, Saba was the press secretary for MAVEN and Untie Atlanta -- the Metro Chamber’s education and advocacy campaigns in supportive of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Referendum. She has consulted with H.E.G. an analytics and evaluation firm where she lent strategic marketing and social media expertise to numerous political campaigns, including that of Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and the 2010 Clayton County transportation referendum. In 2009, Saba served as the deputy campaign manager for the campaign of City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Previously, Saba was a Junior Account Executive at iFusion Marketing, where she lent fractional marketing strategy to various ATDC technology startups operating out of the Georgia Tech incubator, ATDC. For the past two years, Saba has presented on online marketing and politics to the incoming fellows of the Atlanta chapter of the New Leaders Council.



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