Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


July 10, 2012

WE THE PEOPLE: Tennessee poll is encouraging

CROSSVILLE — A wide-ranging poll of Tennessee voters conducted in May by Dr. Drew Westen of Emory University showed broad support for a number of messages that received the most positive responses from virtually every part of the electorate including rural voters, suburban voters and evangelical voters. The poll surveyed a statewide sample of 834 registered voters weighted to reflect the voting population on their positions about dozens of messages that ran across the political spectrum from right to left. This poll reveals how people here in Tennessee actually feel about real issues instead of just who they might vote for. Let’s use the results of this poll to start a conversation among ourselves and bring people together to make Tennessee a better place for all of us. Pick the messages you most agree with and share them with your family, friends and neighbors. It’s time we stopped focusing on what divides us and started working together to deal with the real problems facing us. Here are the messages that drew the most positive responses from Tennessee voters:

• If working and middle class people are going to take a hit in tough times, it shouldn't be to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations that ship our jobs overseas.

• The best way to reduce the deficit is to put Americans back to work. 

• No one has the right to step in and take the money you put away for your retirement, and it's no different for the police, teachers, and other state and local employees who paid into their pension plans. 

• It's time we invest again in our future to make sure every child has access to the kinds of public schools that will allow them to compete in the global economy, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or family's income. 

• It's time we revamped our tax code so that it's fair to the 99 percent of us who work hard and play by the rules, not just the 1 percent who lobby hard and rewrite the rules. 

• The right to negotiate for a fair wage and decent working conditions should be available to all workers, whether they work for private or public employers. 

• It's time older workers stopped living with insecurity about their paychecks and young people could look forward to their first job. 

• It's time to restore some balance between management and working people, starting with making sure working people have a voice and a seat at the table again.

• We used to be a middle-class country with middle-class values of hard work, opportunity, and fairness, but now we're in danger of losing the middle class, as big corporations, CEOs, and their lobbyists are writing the rules and disrespecting those values.

• It's time we started expanding opportunity and stopped shrinking the middle class.

• Who gave CEOs the right to negotiate $15 million bonuses and Rolls Royce health care plans while denying working people the right to negotiate their wages and benefits?

• You don't build a middle class by cutting the pay and benefits of teachers, who are struggling like the rest of us, or by pitting working people against each other. 

The positive response to these particular messages indicates that voters are rejecting extremist messages in favor of bread-and-butter issues. This poll clearly shows that common sense is gathering more support than nonsense in our state and that voters are finally focusing in on the important issues in this campaign. Extremists may not like these messages but this is encouraging news for all us in Tennessee who work (or once worked) for a living.


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