Photo: Kirkland Hall – Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee)
Photo Credit: Corey Seeman / CC
Published June 9, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
According to a recent poll conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee residents have strong American pride, but they are divided in their thoughts on a number of important social and cultural issues.
Researchers from Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI) surveyed 1,000 Tennesseans between May 3 and May 20, 2021. Those surveyed were asked about a number of different topics and were asked to specify what they would like to see the Tennessee state government make a priority.
Results show that registered Democrats want greater focus on COVID-19, while Independents want to see more prioritizing of the economy.
Only 14% of Democrats agreed with the statement that the pandemic “is largely over and things should go back to the way they were”, while 74% of Republicans and 48% of Independents agreed.
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When asked about the COVID-19 vaccine, 37% of Republicans and 30% of Independents said they have no plan to get the vaccine. Only 5% of Democrats gave a similar response. 94% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and 60% of Republicans say they have already received or plan to get the vaccine.
The survey also asked how respondents felt about the 2020 Presidential Election. Many stated that they still questioned the outcome. Most Republicans surveyed said that they felt that “Joe Biden stole the 2020 Presidential Election”, while only 21% said they believed that “Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential Election fair and square.” 97% of Democrats and 65% of Independents felt that the election was won fairly.
“This is a remarkable number – that the vast majority of a political party feels the other party is illegitimate, despite the lack of evidence. This survey question has not been previously relevant in American politics, so going forward this will continue to be a concern when evaluating how this will impact future elections around the country,” said Josh Clinton, professor of political science at Vanderbilt.
Despite the divide found to be present in some areas, the survey did find that there is a unity across the state as respondents from all political parties expressed their strong pride for Tennessee and for America.
Additionally, a majority of individuals responded that they were close friends with someone affiliated with the opposite party. Less than 25% of those surveyed said that they have lost friendships or other relationships because of political divisions.
When asked if Tennesseans are united when it comes to most of the issues that are faced by the state, 60% of Republicans, 24% of Democrats, and 37% of Independents stated that they are mostly or somewhat united. However, when asked if they believed the same to be true for Americans, only 13% of Republicans, 11% of Democrats, and 6% of Independents believe that people are mostly or somewhat united.
John Geer, co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, commented on the divisions found between individuals.
“We have always been a divided nation, certainly more so now than usual. But there are some reasons for optimism since we see that most people are united when it comes to essential values like American identity and maintaining friendships,” said Geer. “These kinds of social connections are fundamental in so many ways.”