State Rep. Jon Lundberg (center) and Sen. Bill Ketron discuss their proposal to allow referendums be held regarding wine in grocery stores during a Jan. 31, 2013, press conference in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo submitted)
With the familiar debate over whether grocery stores should be allowed to sell wine under Tennessee law, previous results from a Middle Tennessee State University poll indicate widespread support for the proposal.
In the spring 2011 statewide poll, 69 percent of Tennesseans said they were in favor of groceries being allowed to sell wine, while only 17 percent were opposed and 13 percent were undecided.
This was an increase in support compared with the spring of 2009, when researchers found 62 percent of Tennesseans in favor of the idea, 26 percent opposed and 12 percent undecided. However, only the decline in opposition was statistically significant — the other changes were within the margins of error.
In terms of public opinion in the state, opposition to wine in grocery stores seems to be driven primarily by political ideology and religious beliefs.
The highest level of support was exhibited by self-identified political liberals and moderates who said they attended worship services seldom or never. On the other hand, the highest levels of opposition were exhibited by Tennesseans who strongly identified with conservative evangelical Christian beliefs.
“Though business interests and law enforcement are also important parts of the conversation, in terms of public opinion, Tennesseans have clearly been in favor of grocery stores being allowed to sell wine for some time,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the MTSU Poll, who is a professor in the College of Mass Communication.