A close vote may be in store for Tennessee's proposed constitutional amendment on abortion, according to the latest statewide MTSU Poll.
The amendment, popularly known as Amendment 1, would specify that Tennessee's constitution does not include a right to an abortion. The recent poll of 600 registered voters, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, showed the following:
• 39 percent -- for
• 32 percent -- against
• 15 percent -- undecided
• 8 percent -- won't/didn't vote
• 6 percent -- no answer
Early voting ends Thursday, Oct. 30, for the Nov. 4 election.
"For many people, the biggest surprises in this part of our poll probably will be just how close this race is and how important the relatively large number of still undecided voters are," said Ken Blake, Ph.D., director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.
The 7-percentage-point lead that supporters hold over opponents "is just a shade too large to be considered a statistical tie," Blake said.
"But the undecideds could swing the outcome either way on election night. Also, among those who either have voted already or say they definitely plan to vote, the measure leads 38 percent to 33 percent, a slightly narrower margin that can't rule out a statistical tie among members of that group."
Jason Reineke, Ph.D., associate director of the poll, added that it is also unclear whether the amendment will draw a majority of the number of votes cast in the race for governor, a requirement for passage.
"In our poll, 214 likely voters said they are in favor of the amendment, while 416 likely voters support a gubernatorial candidate. If we go by those figures alone, the number of votes in favor of the amendment is equal to 51 percent of the total number of decided, likely votes in the gubernatorial race," Reineke explained. "This would be enough to push the amendment past the 50 percent plus one vote threshold required by the state constitution, though just barely."
But Reineke pointed out that another 74 likely voters in the poll said they're not sure whom they prefer in the governor's race.
"If even half of the people in the population they represent end up casting a vote for governor but don't vote in favor of the amendment, then we get 214 votes in favor of the amendment compared to 453 governor's race votes, which brings us to only 47 percent. Then there were also 84 likely voters who were not sure about their position on Amendment 1. So, once again, a lot depends on what voters who are still undecided at this late date end up doing.
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