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Study: Tennesseans split on impeachment, gun control, Roe vs. Wade

The latest Vanderbilt Poll shows how Tennesseans feel on dozens of controversial issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A new Vanderbilt University study shows where Tennesseans agree -- and where they don't.

The university released the study last week. It's based on the survey responses of 1,000 registered voters in Tennessee. Here's the highlights.

Twenty-eight percent of the survey respondents said education should be the state government's highest priority. However, 24 percent said health care should be the priority. Finally, 16 percent said the economy should come first.

For many of the questions, the statistics listed here don't add up to a full 100 percent-- that's because the other responses were variations of "don't know" or "not sure."

The university's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions has conducted the Vanderbilt Poll several times a year since 2011. The CSCDI breaks the results down here. More methodology information is available here.

Gun Control:

Most of the Tennesseans surveyed supported some kind of gun control measure.

  •  86% supported laws preventing people with mental illness from buying guns.
  • 86% supported making private gun sales subject to background checks.
  • 68% supported creating a database to track all gun sales.
  • 51% supported a ban on assault-style weapons.

Buying cigarettes and tobacco products:

The researchers asked Tennesseans about raising the legal age for buying tobacco products, and 68 percent supported raising that legal age to 21.


The researchers asked Tennesseans to choose one of four opinions about the possible impeachment of President Trump.

  • 35% chose "President Trump broke the law and he should be impeached and removed from office."
  • 34% chose "President Trump did nothing wrong in asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden."
  • 16% chose "President Trump did something wrong, but what he did is not an impeachable offense."
  • 7% chose "President Trump broke the law and he should be impeached, but not removed from office."

That means a total of 58 percent of Tennesseans surveyed said President Trump did something wrong or illegal. This question divided Tennesseans along party lines; the researchers also asked for respondents' political parties. 

Out of the 35 percent who said President Trump broke the law and should be impeached and removed from office, 76 percent were Democrats and only 2 percent were Republicans. 

Nathan Bedford Forrest's Bust:

Tennessee's State Legislature Building displays several busts of historical figures. One of those busts shows Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and a founder of the Ku Klux Klan. 

A majority of Tennesseans surveyed said it should be removed from the building.

  • 47% said it should be removed and placed in a museum.
  • 29% said it should be removed and not displayed.
  • 20% said it should remain in the State Legislature Building.

Problems in local communities:

The survey also asked Tennesseans about problems in their local communities. Respondents were asked to select how big they thought each problem was. The percentages below show how many chose "big problem" for the issue.

  • 69% said drug and alcohol addiction was a big problem in their communities.
  • 40% said the lack of well-paying jobs was a big problem in their communities.
  • 40% said access to health care was a big problem in their communities.
  • 38% said K-12 education was a big problem in their communities.
  • 34% said the lack of quality roads was a big problem in their communities.

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