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David Pendered

Voter deadlines loom; Chamber issues email to counter poll on sagging support of transportation sales tax

Note: This story has been updated to remove a poll result.

By David Pendered

The clock is ticking on the July 31 election day, when a referendum on metro Atlanta’s first regional transportation sales tax will be on the ballot.

Today is the last day to register to vote in the election. Registrations by mail must be postmarked no later than July 2 to be considered, according to the Georgia Secretary of State. Other important deadlines are listed below.

WSB-TV poll results June 29, 2012

WSB-TV poll results show results of the latest survey of voter sentiment toward the transportation sales tax. Credit: WSB-TV

Meanwhile, the Metro Atlanta Chamber has moved to counter a poll conducted for WSB-TV that showed waning support for the sales tax – especially among voters who reside in counties other than Fulton and DeKalb counties.

The poll was conducted by Rosetta Stone Communications, an Atlanta-based firm that has posted on its website details of a poll it conducted in May on the voter sentiment of the transportation sales tax referendum.

In the past month, the numbers have shifted somewhat toward the negative for passage:

  • Support has dropped 4 percent – from 41.5 percent to 37.5 percent;
  • Opposition has increased more than 3 percent – from 45 percent to 48.8 percent.

Support is softening in Fulton and DeKalb counties:

  • Support has fallen from 52 percent to 49.6 percent;
  • Opposition has dropped from 33.3 percent to 32.4 percent.

The margin of error in both polls is plus/minus 3.5 percent.

Click here for results of the May 20 poll conducted for WSB-TV by Rosetta Stone. It includes cross tabs of the poll of 850 likely voters.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber responded to the WSB-TV poll with an email sent above the signature of chamber President Sam Williams. Here’s the full message:

“WSB released a poll this afternoon (June 29). The results are in stark contrast to the results of our own as will happen many times in the ensuing weeks. We do not know anything about the methodology used by WSB’s pollster but we have every confidence in ours.

“Additionally, our polling has shown a long standing trend of people saying they plan their day around traffic. In fact, 87 percent of voters say the traffic in metro Atlanta has gotten so bad that something must be done about it.

“As such, we believe voters in this region want a solution that creates jobs, relieves traffic and allows them to get home faster for more time with their families and friends. We are working hard to make sure citizens have that opportunity and VOTE YES ON JULY 31. This is going to be a very close election and your actions – absentee voting, talking to your friends and employees, supporting the campaign, displaying yard signs and buttons – can make the difference between whether we win or lose.”

Voter information; secretary of state

The Georgia Secretary of State’s website offers abundant information about the elections.

Here are some key dates to remember about the July 31 election:

Click here to read the state’s main page for elections.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.



  1. Ready2Drive July 3, 2012 9:30 am

    This referendum could very well be the most important thing we vote on for the state of GA.  The transportation issues that bombard us on a daily basis are ridiculous because they could be solved.  When these massive road improvements are put in place not only will the daily commute be easier but it will be more welcoming for tourists and businesses.Report

    1. The Last Democrat in Georgia July 8, 2012 2:50 pm

       I hope that you know that you guys have run one of the worst public relations campaigns, ever.
      Which is okay, because you are campaigning for what has turned out to be one of the worst political ideas, ever, asking voters in a politically and socially-polarizing region to raise their own sales taxes to fund projects in diametrically-opposing geographical areas that each side either can’t stand or totally despises.
      When coming up with this miserably God-awful bad transportation funding idea, did anyone stop to think that asking tax-adverse, government-adverse and transit-adverse conservative OTP suburban voters to raise their own taxes to fund improvements to MARTA and the construction of economic development projects for liberal ITP urbanites that they can’t stand and asking transit-hungry anti-road Intown liberals to raise their own taxes to fund road construction for conservative OTP suburbanites that they despise was a good idea?
      By the looks of it, apparently not.Report

      1. Burroughston Broch July 8, 2012 5:20 pm

         @The Last Democrat in Georgia The proponents are using the same political skills the Metro Chamber of Commerce used in trying to head off the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.
        As you said, they are oblivious.Report

  2. andy Callaway July 7, 2012 12:32 am

    I really hope it passes, but im not too optimistic Report

    1. The Last Democrat in Georgia July 8, 2012 2:38 pm

       @andy Callaway
      Proposing to use a politically alienating T-SPLOST full of goodies and giveaways to the well-connected to fund only a mere fraction of Metro Atlanta’s numerous and overwhelming transportation needs is like using a band-aid to attempt to treat deep gash wound.
      This region does not need a band-aid or a minimal stopgap measure or yet another smoke-and-mirrors approach that makes it falsely appear as though the region and the state are doing something to address congestion and transportation mobility when in fact they are doing next-to-nothing.
      This region needs to “wander in the wilderness” for the next decade or so until the powers-that-be and the public realize the importance of REAL investment in transportation infrastructure.
      This region needs to sit back and watch places that are actively investing in their transportation infrastructure like Houston and Dallas pull away from and leave it behind a little bit economically while watching places like Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham pull closer to it from behind.
      That’s the “kick-in-the-pants” that this region really needs to take transportation infrastructure investment really seriously in the long-term.
      People in this region need to sit in worsening traffic for another decade or so while the economic and job opportunites pass us by and go to the aforementioned competing cities.Report

  3. Burroughston Broch July 7, 2012 5:08 pm

    Just an update for you from the last two days of the AJC:
    1. City of Atlanta’s traffic control center is outdated and poorly maintained. Upgrades will cost at least $40 million, but only $16 million is in the TPLOST budget. TSPLOST will not cover added maintenance costs, and the City cannot maintain what it has.
    2. City of Atlanta’s Beltline agency is squandering taxpayer funds on expensive meals, cakes and desserts, and lobbyists. TSPLOST includes $600 million for the Beltline.
    3. City of Atlanta Municipal Court cashier is jailed for stealing $71,000. Her supervisor, asleep at the switch, told police that (A) the only time money was not missing from the cashier’s cash drawer was when she was on maternity leave, and (B) when she looked into the matter, the pilferage extended back to February 2011.
    4. A fired City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management employee stole over $400,000 in City property to feed his heroin habit.
    And many of you wonder why taxpayers outside Fulton and DeKalb counties don’t want to feed this sort of madness?
    Voters in Fulton and DeKalb outside the City of Atlanta are waking up also.


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