Tennesseans Divided on Key Democracy Topics Including 2020 Election Results and Whether January 6th was an Insurrection
May 18, 2022
Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Ambassador Norm Eisen (ret.) to Speak at First Ever Tennessee Democracy Forum Conversation on Democracy with Discussion Highlighting New Polling
CHATTANOOGA, TN., May 18, 2022 – According to a poll conducted by Embold Research for the Tennessee Democracy Forum, only a slim plurality of Tennessee voters (46% - 44%) believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election – despite the fact that the results are unquestionable and were certified, counted, and officially audited by trusted local election officials, as required by law. Further, a small majority (51% - 49%) believe that January 6th was a legitimate form of political discourse rather than an insurrection. Both results were within the polling margin of error.
The results of this poll will be a topic of discussion in the first Tennessee Democracy Forum Conversation on Democracy, which will feature former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Ambassador Norm Eisen (ret.), Co-Chairs of the States United Democracy Center on Thursday, May 26th at 7 p.m. ET.
The virtual conversation will be open to the public. Registration is at https://secure.everyaction.com/wWPPN_bpxEicn4Hz-zcQ-g2
Voters were asked: “Regardless of who you voted for, who do you think won the 2020 presidential election?”Among all voters, 46% responded Joe Biden, 44% responded Donald Trump and 11% were unsure.
- Women (49% - 41%) were more likely to respond that President Biden had won than men (42% - 46%)
- Older Tennesseans – 65-years old and older – were more likely to believe that President Trump won (50% - 41%). Younger voters – 18- to 34-years old – were more likely to believe that President Biden won (52% - 35%)
- A majority of white voters (50% - 39%) responded that President Trump was the winner, while a larger majority of black voters (83% - 9%) responded that President Biden was the winner
- 97% of Biden 2020 voters stated that Biden had won compared to 76% of Trump 2020 voters who stated that Trump was the winner
- A majority of urban (76%) and suburban (53%) voters responded that President Biden had won the election, compared to 32% of rural voters
The same poll asked Tennessee voters: “Which of the following comes closest to your views on the events of January 6th, 2021, even if neither is exactly right?” Among all voters, 51% responded “The events of January 6th, 2021, were a legitimate form of political discourse” and 49% responded “The events of January 6th, 2021 were an insurrection.”
- Men (56% - 44%) were more likely to respond that January 6th was a legitimate form of political discourse than women (46% - 54%)
- Older Tennesseans – 65-years old and older – were more likely to believe that January 6th was a legitimate form of political discourse (55% - 45%%). Younger voters – 18- to 34-years old – were more likely to believe that January 6th was an insurrection (57% - 43%)
- A majority of white voters (56% - 44%) characterized January 6th as a legitimate form of political discourse, while a larger majority of black voters (82% - 18%) called it an insurrection
- 95% of Biden 2020 voters and 15% of Trump 2020 voters characterized January 6th as an insurrection, while 85% of Trump 2020 voters and 5% of Biden 2020 voters characterized it as a legitimate form of political discourse
- Among voters without a college degree, 57% characterized January 6th as a legitimate form of political discourse and 60% of voters with a college degree characterized it as an insurrection
- A majority of urban (75%) and suburban (55%) voters responded that January 6th was an insurrection, compared to 38% of rural voters
“The great divide among Tennessee voters on the outcome of the 2020 election and what happened on January 6, 2021 is precisely why we need conversations about democracy in this state,” said Emily Eichenthal, Tennessee Democracy Forum Coordinator. “The first step to rebuilding our democracy is to start a real dialogue about democracy.”
The first speakers in the Conversations on Democracy will be Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Amb. Norm Eisen (ret.).
Christine Todd Whitman is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the States United Democracy Center and the former Governor of New Jersey. After her two terms as New Jersey’s first female Governor, she served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Governor Whitman is the co-chair of the Meridian Institute Board and Chairman of the American Security Project. Previously she served as co-chair of the Commission on the Rule of Law and Democracy at the Brennan Center at New York University. Additionally, she is Vice-Chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowships Board of Trustees and co-chair of the National Institute for Civil Discourse.
Ambassador Norman L. Eisen (ret.) is the Co-Founder and Executive Chair of the States United Democracy Center. An attorney and author who has served in a broad array of government roles, he was special counsel and special assistant to President Barack Obama for ethics and government reform from 2009-11. Following his service in the White House, he was our ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2011-14. He served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee for the impeachment and trial of President Donald J. Trump from 2019-20.
Embold Research surveyed 1,125 registered voters in Tennessee, with an oversample of Hamilton County, from April 8-11, 2022. Respondents were recruited via dynamic online sampling and SMS text-to-web sampling to attain a sample reflective of the electorate. Post-stratification weighting was performed on age, gender, ethnicity, education, region, and vote history. Weighting parameters were based on voterfile data. The modeled margin of error is 3.2%. For more information on Embold Research, go to https://emboldresearch.com/.
The results of the Tennessee Democracy Forum poll will be released over the next five months in conjunction with a series of a half dozen “Conversations on Democracy” to build support for a pro-democracy movement in Tennessee. Each conversation – both live remote and in person – will be an hour-long discussion of economic and political democracy focused on ongoing national and statewide issues. The Conversations will be open to the public and there will be an opportunity for questions and answers from the audience.
For more information about the States United Democracy Center, go to https://statesuniteddemocracy.org/.
For more information on the “Conversations on Democracy” series, go to www.tndemocracyforum.org.
The Tennessee Democracy Forum is a project of ForwardTN. For more about ForwardTN go to www.forwardtn.org.