Targeting football crowds this Labor Day weekend, Governor Riley pressed ahead with his one-point-two billion dollar tax and education campaign despite a new statewide poll out Sunday showing growing opposition to the proposal.
The Mobile Register-University of South Alabama survey finds 57 percent of respondents who identified themselves as "likely" or "very likely" to vote in the September Ninth referendum said they would oppose the plan if the vote were held today. Only 26 percent said they would vote for the plan. The survey, conducted Monday through Thursday, includes responses from 805 registered Alabama voters. It has a three-point-four percentage points margin of error. The gap is the widest revealed in three Register-U-S-A polls conducted since the governor began pitching his plan earlier this summer.
Two weeks ago, the spread was 25 points and it was 23 points at the end of July. Riley press secretary David Azbell said the poll results would not alter Riley's strategy. Azbell says Riley has to "keep getting our message out to the people who will be most helped by this plan." In Huntsville Saturday, Riley told a crowd at Alabama A-anmd-M University before the Jacksonville State football game: --quote-- "We have a little over a week to change our state, a little over a week to change people's minds, and a little over a week to change people's hearts." Bob Gambacurta of Montgomery, a spokesman for the Tax Accountability Coalition, which represents opponents of the tax plan, said it's "a little spooky to be this far ahead" in the latest Mobile poll. Gambacurta says the "last thing we want to see is opponents of this tax plan get complacent and get up on election day to go fishing or play golf because they assume this thing is a done deal." Activists on each side declined to discuss their own internal polling results. But a spokeswoman for the Alabama Partnership for Progress, the business and civic coalition group organizing support for the plan, contended that the Register-U-S-A poll did not reflect reality.