Poll shows Haslam ahead, but most voters still undecided

Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 7:13pm
Staff reports

A new poll released Thursday by WSMV-Channel 4 says Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam would win if the election were held now, but his lead is about as slim as it could be. And, judging by the rest of the poll results, any lead at this point could be fleeting at best. 

The poll found unusually high interest in the Aug. 5 primary — some 89 percent of respondents said they would vote, although more than a third are undecided. In fact, with a week remaining before early voting begins, more people are still without a candidate than support any of the four major ones.

Democrat Mike McWherter is running unopposed in the primary. On the Republican side, the three major candidates are Knoxville Mayor Haslam, U.S. Rep Zach Wamp, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

Among those polled, 32 percent said they would vote for Haslam; 21 percent said they would vote for Wamp; and Ramsey pulled just 11 percent. Some 36 percent remain undecided.

Respondents were also asked whom they would support in a general election. Across the board, Republicans stomped McWherter, although that could be attributable to higher name recognition for Republicans, who have been campaigning wall-to-wall in their hotly contested primary. Meanwhile, there has been very little action on the Democratic side.

In a Haslam-McWherter race, the Knoxville mayor won 60-34 percent. Wamp won 59-35 percent over the Democrat, and Ramsey came out ahead at 51-41 percent. The remainders in all three were undecided.

The poll was conducted by telephone, and 603 registered voters responded. Tennessee allows voters to cast ballots in one primary, regardless of party affiliation. 

18 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 7/9/10 at 6:07

603 voters? How can that be considered a poll for who the majority favor?

By: HokeyPokey on 7/9/10 at 6:28

Is that your automatic response to every poll conducted bfra?

By: billyraydallas on 7/9/10 at 6:36

Of course the Dems went for Haslam when given the chance--he is a ghost Dem himself supporting Gore for President as well as gun control and increased taxes. But even with Dem support he fails short.

By: xhexx on 7/9/10 at 7:11

All Haslem's TV ads just show him to be a nice guy, not what he's going to do for the State. Haslem is just a disingenuous RINO. He was a member of Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun group until he decided to run for state-wide office and it became a political liability. So them he joins the NRA and claims to be pro-2nd amendment.

By: billyraydallas on 7/9/10 at 7:15

The TV WSMV poll is a bad one. Channel 4, to its credit, points out the poll was taken by CJ&N but neglects to mention this is not a political polling firm but a TV consulting firm that specializes in market research and anchor coaching... somehow something isn't ringing right.

By: govskeptic on 7/9/10 at 8:03

Sounds like pretty crazy poll and done on the cheap. 4% error factor and includes all likely voters and not by party. Also shows those Tea Baggers that jumped on the Ron Ramsey bandwagon are going to make sure Haslam wins the primary!

By: trtay2004 on 7/9/10 at 8:05

I just wish they would talk more issues. I think that's why most people are undecided. I get tired of hearing nothing but 'I'm anti-government' when they all receive their paychecks from the government. But, maybe one will rise above and figure out a way to work with the government to better the lives of Tennesseans.

By: bfra on 7/9/10 at 8:12

Hokey - You might consider 603 voters a poll, I don't! Then it says "most" voters are undecided. How do they know what "most" are, with only 603 voters?

By: HokeyPokey on 7/9/10 at 9:09

bfra, tell me what you know about the science of statistics. We can start there.

By: bfra on 7/9/10 at 10:25

Hokey - That depends on what you are wanting to know about the science of statistics. What's your question?

By: HokeyPokey on 7/9/10 at 10:26

what's your problem with the sample size?

By: HokeyPokey on 7/9/10 at 10:45

No, Wait Wait, don't tell me, I have a different set of questions, based on your 11:25 response. (You know, the one with the deer-in-the-headlights look of Sarah Palin being asked which specific newspapers she reads)

When did you study statistics?
Where did you study statistics?
Did you ever study statistics?
Was it in secondary or post-secondary situations?
Did you use statistics in your personal research and did you find the tools to yield valid results?
What was your GPA in your statistics class series?


[check here] I don't need to study no statistics to know that that's not enough people and besides they didn't ask me or nobody I know.

/me giggles

By: not_guilty on 7/9/10 at 10:58

The story says, "Tennessee allows voters to cast ballots in one primary, regardless of party affiliation." That is not true, although Tennessee does not require voters to register by political party.

Tennessee Code Annotated § 2-7-115(b) states:

(b) A registered voter is entitled to vote in a primary election for offices for which the voter is qualified to vote at the polling place where the voter is registered if:

(1) The voter is a bona fide member of and affiliated with the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote; or

(2) At the time the voter seeks to vote, the voter declares allegiance to the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote and states that the voter intends to affiliate with that party.

Moreover, intentionally voting in an election, while knowing that one is not entitled to do so, is a Class D felony according to Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-19-107(1).

By: bfra on 7/9/10 at 11:54

Hokey - Your ignorance is really showing! Your GPA must have been very low, especially if English was required.

By: AmyLiorate on 7/9/10 at 12:42

So what I get from this story is that we can all comfortably support the more real conservative, Ron Ramsey.

"Ramsey came out ahead at 51-41 percent" That's a solid lead, no need to support TARP money Wamp or the Haslam RINO.

No need to fret over voting for one of those two lesser candidates when you have a 10% lead.

By: HokeyPokey on 7/9/10 at 1:03

bfra, if you're unable to notice the point at which I switched from standard English to a more deprecatory mode of addressing you then maybe you needn't continue this duel of wits.

You may only be half-armed.

By: bfra on 7/9/10 at 1:34

Pew Research Center :

Pre-election polling provides one of the few times when pollsters can assess the validity of their work by measuring how well their polls match election outcomes. But, polls designed to measure voter intentions serve up some special challenges. How do you identify which respondents will actually vote? Are respondents honest when they tell us for whom they intend to vote? How will undecided voters make their final decisions?

By: HokeyPokey on 7/9/10 at 6:17

shovelware, bfra.

You appear to actually know nothing about statistical analysis in the pursuit of social research, but that doesn't stop you from deep thoughts on the news.

Bless your heart, bfra.