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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennesseans’ opinion of the media has dropped, a University of Tennessee survey shows, and political scandal may be the cause.

Forty-six percent of people surveyed by UT-Knoxville’s Social Science Research Institute rated media performance as poor. That’s up from 28 percent in 1995.

Those rating media performance as good dropped from 28 percent to 17 percent.

Dr. Michael Gant, SSRI director, said political scandal coverage could be a factor.

“Tennesseans do not blame the media for the political problems and scandals, but they sure would like for the media to move on and cover something else,” Gant said.

Gant, a UT-Knoxville political science professor, headed the poll which interviewed 741 Tennessee adults Oct. 4-13.

Gant said poll data shows views on major state issues such as lotteries, income taxes, abortion and political affiliation changed little in the last 10 years.

“Tennesseans made up their minds about some of the major issues at the start of the decade and their opinions have changed only slightly since then,” Gant said.

The survey showed that since 1989:
— Party affiliation has remained about the same, with 33 percent Democrats, 30 percent Republicans and 37 percent Independent.
— Lottery support rose from 60 to 68 percent.
— State income tax support dropped from 30 to 26 percent.
— Those favoring current abortion laws went from 49 to 52 percent.

Gant said the most marked statistical change was a movement away from moderate politics — from 54 to 41 percent. Forty percent said they are conservative, up from 31 percent in 1989. Liberals increased slightly, from 15 to 19 percent.