Monday, May 21, 2012

Vanderbilt Poll - Tennessee Could Be a Toss-Up

 Be still my heart ~ a new Vanderbilt University Poll has Obama tied with Romney in a virtual dead heat within my home state of Tennessee!

Nashville Tennessean: Vandy Poll says Gap Closing

“Tennessee is clearly a red state,” said John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt. “But these data show that the public is much more moderate than our state legislature.”
The poll of 1,002 Tennessee residents who are 18 and older found 42 percent would vote for Romney and 41 percent for Obama if the election were held now. The survey, conducted May 2-9 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Vanderbilt, had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
. . .
Bill Freeman, a top fundraiser for Obama in Tennessee, said the overall poll result reflects a “tightening” the president’s campaign had already noticed.
“We’ve been tracking it for some time,” Freeman said Thursday. “We’ve watched it go from a solid-Republican (state) to a leaning-Republican to, we believe, a toss-up state now. We think we’re just a point or two behind and that winning Tennessee is in our grasp.
“And we’re especially excited about what that’ll mean to the down-ticket races across the state.”

And here's a part I love - proof that folks are fed up with our stupid Legislature:

Some of the General Assembly’s forays into issues such as “gateway sexual activity,” debating evolution in classrooms and permitting the carrying of guns into business parking lots have given Tennessee “a black eye nationally,” Geer said.
Just 22 percent of the people surveyed said it was more important to protect the rights of handgun owners to carry their weapons into any commercial establishment than it was to protect the rights of business owners to set their own rules. More than 7 in 10 said the opposite.
“The public is not wild about this stuff,” said Geer, co-director of the poll, which was sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. “When you aggregate opinion in the state, it’s more moderate than the aggregate behavior of state legislators. On certain issues, like guns in parking lots, they were way out of step.”

This is factual evidence for what my gut feeling tells me all the time - Tennesseans are not as conservative as our reputation as a Red State seems to imply. There are plenty of Democrats and Independents here, and our state usually runs about 50/50 in major elections. But there's still so much work to be done to drag us back into blue or even toss-up status. It broke my heart in the last election that the local Democratic Party spent more time campaigning in North Carolina than here, although that was certainly worthwhile for Obama. And while NC has had their problems with the recent Gay Marriage Amendment Debacle, the educated large urban areas of NC will still go for Obama, you can bet on that. And if NC can be a swing state, so can TN! So let's take this Vanderbilt poll as a glimmer of hope that our Democratic votes may not be wasted or cancelled out this time around, at least in the down-ticket races.

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