Vote Today

Today is Election Day in Georgia. There are several elections on the ballot, from Congress to local judgeships, but the race most political observers are following is the metro Atlanta T-SPLOST referendum. With eleven other regional T-SPLOST referenda on the ballot throughout Georgia, Atlanta’s is billed as this generation’s “Olympic moment”.

The stakes are high. The Atlanta T-SPLOST campaign has spent close to $9 million trying to persuade metropolitan Atlanta voters to make an unprecedented $7 billion investment in transportation, but based on recent polling, there may not be enough support to pass the referendum.

Almost a year ago, Blogging While Blue wrote that the chances of success for this referendum were slim. We wrote that the campaign needed to concentrate on targeting 2008 Obama voters if it wanted to successfully pass the tax. Instead it appears the campaign focused on 2008 McCain voters.

The campaign consultants were primarily Republicans. Yes, there were some Democrats too, but the campaign brain thrust was led by key strategists of the state Republican political machine. And it showed.   The project list left out key constituencies of Obama voters in South DeKalb, South Fulton, and Clayton Counties and did not address the operational funding needs of MARTA.

Despite a late flurry of activity generated by Mayor Kasim Reed, Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressmen John Lewis and Hank Johnson, the campaign never seemed to find the right messaging to persuade enough Obama voters to support the referendum. And even so, the overwhelming lack of support among Republicans and Independents may now be an insurmountable task for the campaign.

Regardless of your decision to vote for or against the T-SPLOST, be sure to vote today.

However, if the referendum fails as many predict, there will likely be a lot of name calling and finger pointing. Hopefully the blaming will be short lived and tempered. Atlanta still needs transportation investment. The leaders of the day will have to accept the peoples’ final decision and move forward with Plan B.


  1. You are right on target regarding the chances of passage is slim. Not just in Atlanta, but all over the state. The political strategists never had their finger on the pulse of Democratic voters. In Atlanta region, I didn’t hear from folks that looked like me. Where were the women leadership. Presenting man after man tell me how important the referendum is and not show the majority of voters which are women–no women spokesmen was clearly a misstep on the strategists part.

    In addition, the message could have been more factual. Georgia clearly needs a transportation system. However, it will not be the magic pill for creating jobs. We also need a fully funded public education system to create jobs. Our children have lost more than three billion dollars in funding since the Republicans have been in power in our state legislature. You cannot attract new industries without a skilled workforce. The first thing Companies look at our SAT scores. Than they may look at the regions transportation system.
    Hopefully, as you suggest there won’t be any finger pointing–just perhaps some inclusion and diversity on Plan B,

  2. Burroughston Broch says:

    The strategists didn’t have their fingers on the pulses of the voters in general, not just Democrats. I believe that the results will be (a) highest support for TSPLOST in the heavily Democratic areas of Atlanta and Fulton Fulton County, and (b) lowest support for TSPLOST in the heavily Republican areas ITP. The strategists really missed the ball in DeKalb County, particularly South DeKalb.

    Remember that one key strategist is the Metro Atlanta Chamber, who repeated their dismal performance in the APS cheating scandal.

  3. bloggingwhileblue says:


    What’s your prediction tonight? Percentage yes and no?


    • Burroughston Broch says:

      I see it 45% for and 55% against. It will depend on voter turnout. If Cherokee County’s prediction of 50% is indicative OTP, then it could go into a big hole there.
      But I am a lousy pollster and prognosticator – that’s why I keep my day job.
      I think that it would be closer if the strategists hadn’t ignored the folks in South DeKalb.

  4. bloggingwhileblue says:

    It was worse than I expected. I thought it would end up 45% yes, 55% no.


    • Burroughston Broch says:

      Mayor Reed should look in the mirror and realize (1) his political coattails are not as long as he thought, (2) his powers of persuasion are less than he thought, and (3) the power of the Mayor’s office doesn’t extend far outside the City limits. The likelihood of winning a statewide political race is minimal, as is the likelihood of a plum political post in a 2nd Obama administration.
      He should instead focus on being a good Mayor and run for a 2nd term.