The US Supreme Court concluded that the dismantlement of DACA was unconstitutional. (Emily Gonçalves)
The US Supreme Court concluded that the dismantlement of DACA was unconstitutional.

Emily Gonçalves

Vanderbilt CSDI Poll finds COVID-19, economic concerns and high approval ratings in Davidson County

The 1,036-person survey administered between April 9 and May 10 found that over half of the participants had economic concerns, and the polled residents tended to endorse policies to mitigate COVID-19 spread.

May 21, 2020

The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI) surveyed 1,036 registered Davidson County voters between April 9 and May 10. Results found record-high approval ratings for state and local politicians, support for COVID-19 spread mitigation and economic anxiety.

The CSDI’s yearly poll, which began in 2011, utilizes Vanderbilt’s private, independent funding to conduct surveys and release its findings. 

Lead by Co-directors Joshua Clinton and John Geer, the CSDI’s methodology for collecting information included the use of landline and cellphones, weighting of statistical results to get representative demographics, counsel provided by the VU Poll Board of Advisors and a registered voter list. This year’s poll has a margin of error ± 4.3 percent.

“Our focus in all our polls is to uncover what citizens think about important public policy issues and to make our findings available to citizens, policy-makers, and scholars,” the CSDI website reads.

Nashville largely supports social distancing measures

Eighty-two percent of Nashville residents polled are at some level concerned that they or someone close to them would get sick of COVID-19, with 52 percent reporting to be very concerned and the other 30 percent somewhat concerned. 

Ninety-four percent utilized social distancing either in a strict manner or most of the time with 74 percent utilizing strict social distancing measures and the remaining 20 percent practicing social distancing most of the time. The poll numbers also show support for measures to limit the spread of COVID-19:  96 percent supported school closure; 95 percent supported canceling large gatherings; 84 percent supported travel restrictions; 90 percent supported stay-at-home policies and 85 percent supported closing non-essential businesses.

Immanual John Milton
Vanderbilt’s CSDI conducted a 1,036-person survey administered between April 9 and May 10 and found the above sentiment surrounding COVID-19 and the instituted countermeasures. Graph created using Infogram, and data is courtesy of Vanderbilt University. (Hustler Staff/Immanual John Milton)

“Despite people in Davidson County being willing to support social distancing, we do see some partisan differences in attitudes toward COVID-19,” Co-director Joshua Clinton said in the press release. “Democrats and Independents are much more likely to be very worried about catching COVID-19 than Republicans and, perhaps as a result, Republicans were somewhat less supportive of social distancing policies than Democrats and Independents.”

Nashvillians have economic anxiety

The public’s perception of the very or fairly good economy dipped by 20 percent from 82 percent in 2019 to 62 percent. Each listed potential source of economic unease held a majority viewpoint in those polled: 52 percent worried about monthly bills; 54 percent worried about jobs, hours or wages; 57 percent worried about emergencies and 58 percent worried about education and retirement. 

According to the press release, poll respondents favored cutting affordable housing and raising property taxes more than cutting school and public safety spending as solutions to Nashville’s “budget crisis.”

Immanual John Milton
Vanderbilt’s CSDI conducted a 1,036-person survey administered between April 9 and May 10 and found the above sentiment surrounding the economy and the potential sources of economic anxiety. Bars are the percent of people polled who are worried about that specific topic. Graph created using Infogram, and data is courtesy of Vanderbilt University. (Hustler Staff/Immanual John Milton)

“Republicans are significantly less worried about the economic impacts of COVID-19 on their personal finances than Democrats and Independents,” Clinton said. “And while Nashvillians are broadly united on protecting public school funding, Democrats and Independents are more likely to prefer raising property taxes to solve the city’s budget problems, while Republicans are more willing to prioritizing [sic] cuts in affordable housing.”

Support for local and state administrations

The poll’s findings included the highest approval rating of any mayor since the inaugural 2015 poll at 80 percent for Mayor John Cooper. Metro Nashville Schools Director Adrienne Battle had a 79 percent approval rating, and Congressman Jim Cooper had a 76 percent approval rating. President Donald Trump contrasted from the Tennessee politicians with a 33 percent approval rating.

The Metro Nashville School Board saw a 31 percent increase from 37 to 68 percent in its approval rating compared to last year’s poll; the Metro Nashville Council’s support increased by 13 percent from 57 to 70 percent. Both of these figures are record highs, according to the press release.

“Residents also continue to think highly of the job being done by the Metro Nashville Police Department, which received 86 percent approval—recovering from a dip last year,” the press release read.

Despite the concerns surrounding Nashville, 63 percent of its polled residents say that the city is “generally moving in the right direction.”

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