Tennesseans are growing more worried about the cost of health care, a new poll from Vanderbilt has found, in a development that could have implications for the state's next leader.
Health care surpassed education and the economy as the top concern of Tennessee voters, even though Gov.-elect Bill Lee made those latter issues the focus of his campaign.
But political scientist John Geer says the survey's results show Lee can't ignore health care costs going forward.
"Exactly how he addresses it is open to interpretation," Geer says. "He'll have to tackle it in some way shape or form. It's a tough issue, and it's not easily dealt with."
Two-thirds of respondents said they favor expanding Medicaid, an idea that Lee and most Republicans in the state legislature has been against. And the state is not an aberration: Geer notes that voters in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah — all of which lean Republican like Tennessee — approved Medicaid expansion this fall, over the objections of their state's leaders.
One area in which Lee was in line with voters, however, is the importance of vocational training. Nearly three in five voters want more of it in public schools, and they say vocational education is more important than getting students ready for college.