WHAT THE POLLS SAY

Major party voters favor new constitution
The Birmingham News
Monday, April 24, 2006
TOM GORDON
News staff writer

Republicans and Democrats wouldn't mind having a convention to rewrite Alabama's 105-year-old constitution, some new polls suggest.

But the groups part company on other issues, such as whether the state is headed in the right direction, whether most Alabamians are better or worse off than they were four years ago, and which political party they trust to handle the state budget and tax dollars.

The results are some of the findings from two statewide telephone polls taken April 17-20 of two groups of 400 voters. One group of 400 said they would vote in the June 6 Democratic primary, while the other said they would vote in the GOP primary.

The margin of error for both polls was plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Alabama's much-amended constitution is the nation's largest, and there have been calls for years for its overhaul. Both surveyed groups of voters favored a convention to rewrite it. Among Democrats, 58 percent favored the idea, while 29 percent were opposed. Among Republican voters, the sentiment for a convention was 53 percent, while 33 percent were opposed.

Overall, Republicans had a more favorable view of the state, with 65 percent saying it was headed in the right direction and 26 percent saying it was on the wrong track. Only 39 percent of the Democratic primary voters held the right direction view, while nearly 50 percent said the state's track was the wrong one.

Far fewer Democrats than Republicans - 12 percent to 40 percent - said most Alabamians were better off than four years ago. Twenty-eight percent of the Democrats said most of their fellow Alabamians were worse off, while 54 percent said most Alabamians were "in about the same situation" as they were four years back. The Republican primary voters put those numbers at 10 percent and 46 percent.

Both groups were loyal to their own when asked which party they trusted "to handle the state budget and spend tax money." Democratic primary voters favored Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 72 percent to 8 percent, while the GOP primary voters favored Republicans over Democrats by 79 percent to 5 percent.

On the always-touchy subject of taxes, nearly 50 percent of the Democrats said taxes in Alabama were high, while 31 percent described them as "about what you would expect to pay." Nearly 30 percent of the Republicans termed taxes high, while 46 percent said they were paying what they expected to pay.

UAB communications studies professor Larry Powell, who directed the polls, said low-income voters made up 43 percent of the Democratic sample, compared to 22 percent of the GOP group. Powell said a majority of the low-income Democratic voters and nearly 50 percent of middle-income Democratic voters said taxes were high, but that smaller percentages of low- and middle-income Republican voters shared that sentiment.

E-mail: tgordon@bhamnews.com

Capital Survey Research Center

2006 CONSTITUTION SURVEY

550 Registered Voters
February 8-9 / 13, 2006
SME +/-4.2%

Do you support or oppose the Legislature passing a bill to allow a vote of the people on whether or not to hold a constitutional convention of elected delegates to write a new constitution for approval by a vote of the people?

 
Total
Race
Region
Gender
   
B
W
N
M
S
M
F
Support
72%
74%
71%
75%
69%
67%
74%
69%
Oppose
19%
16%
20%
17%
20%
22%
19%
19%
Don't Know
10%
10%
9%
8%
11%
8%
8%
12%

Registered Voters

Region Sample Actual
     
North 48.7% 46%
Middle 28.7% 30%
South 22.5% 24%

 

Race Sample Actual
     
Black A-A 18% 24%
White 79% 74%
Other 3% 2%

 

Gender Sample Actual
     
Male 47.8% 45%
Female 52.2% 55%

 

Gerald W. Johnson
Capital Survey Research Center
Alabama Education Association
P. O. Box 4177
Montgomery, AL 36103-4177
(334-834-3912 / 334-834-9790)
FAX (334-262-8377)
polling@alaedu.org

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