The Significance of Opposition Entrepreneurs on Local Sales Tax Referendum Outcomes


Political Science and International Affairs

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This article assesses the impact of “opposition entrepreneurs” on affirmative vote percentages for special purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) proposals in counties of the Metropolitan Atlanta region. The main question addressed is how does the presence of identifiable opposition-leading entrepreneurs in SPLOST campaigns affect the affirmative (“yes”) vote percentages for these sales tax proposals? Aggregate-level county data and election-specific campaign data were collected for 86 county and school district SPLOST referenda in 15 counties in the Metropolitan Atlanta region during the time period spanning from 1998 through 2011. The results of ordinary least square regression analyses support the hypothesis that the presence of opposition entrepreneurs in SPLOST campaigns reduces affirmative voting. The results indicate that opposition, by itself, is not sufficient to impact voting outcomes in tax referendum elections. Rather, consequential opposition efforts need to be led by an identifiable leader.