Tennesseans Are Wary Of The Words ‘Common Core’ And Some Abortion Restrictions, New Poll Finds
It's been primarily conservative groups protesting Common Core. This is a photo from a Sacramento protest. Many see the standards as a federal take over of the education system. Credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Tennesseans Are Wary Of The Words ‘Common Core’ And Some Abortion Restrictions, New Poll Finds

It's been primarily conservative groups protesting Common Core. This is a photo from a Sacramento protest. Many see the standards as a federal take over of the education system. Credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr
This is a photo from a California protest against Common Core. In Tennessee, more respondents to a Vanderbilt Poll opposed Common Core than approved of it — but when the phrase “Common Core” is removed, a significantly higher number of respondents said they supported the idea of national education standards. Many see the standards as a federal take over of the education system. Credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

The opinion of Tennesseans on national education standards depends partly on the wording. Results from a Vanderbilt University poll released Wednesday show that respondents had a much more negative reaction to the phrase “Common Core.”

Forty-six percent of registered voters said they oppose Common Core, the national standards for reading and math. But when asked the exact same question with the same explanation, but without saying the words “Common Core,” opposition dropped to 34 percent.

Vanderbilt professor Josh Clinton says it’s because the phrase has taken on political meaning, similar to the word “Obamacare.”

“How politicians and people talk about these issues is going to be really consequential for interpreting what the public thinks about the issue,” he says.

The phenomenon was noticeable across party lines, but particularly among voters identifying as Republican. Opposition lowered by more than a third when Common Core wasn’t mentioned.

Regardless of wording, there still wasn’t overwhelming support: Less than half of those surveyed were in favor of national standards.

Mixed Bag Of Abortion Regulations

More than half of Tennessee voters are in favor of requiring a two-day waiting period for abortions, which means 48 hours between having an in-person consultation and the procedure. But the Vanderbilt poll also showed that four out of five respondents didn’t want to outlaw abortions altogether.

“These are overwhelming number suggesting that, in fact, the state may well have supported Amendment 1, but that doesn’t mean the public doesn’t favor exceptions under some conditions,” says researcher John Geer.

Only 25 percent said they want to prohibit private insurance plans from covering abortion costs. Nearly half of respondents, however, would support a law requiring second trimester abortions to be done in a hospital and requiring women to have an ultrasound beforehand. The latter has already been proposed by State Rep. Rick Womick of Rutherford county.

Emily Siner

Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On Twitter: @SinerSays
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