Alexander - 41%
Carr - 29%
Flinn - 5%
Other - 5%
Undecided - 20%
With a week to go, Alexander has a reasonably solid 12-point lead. However, the high number of undecided voters should be a cause for concern. If Carr can bring a significant percentage of those voters to the polls, and take some votes currently going to the other candidates on the ballot, he has a chance to pull off the upset. However, it is more likely that a significant percentage of the "undecided voters" will simply stay home next week, slightly boosting Alexander's margin.
Will Support - 25%
May Support - 40%
Will Not Support - 26%
Other - 9%
The state's other Senator, Bob Corker, has been rumored to be considering a presidential run. Obviously, Tennessee's primary is not likely to be a pivotal contest in deciding the GOP nomination, but the voters who know Corker best offer a lukewarm endorsement of his long-shot bid. While Corker would start with a sizeable bloc of support, most Tennesseans seem eager to consider other options.
Male - 47%
Female - 53%
Under 45 - 14%
Between 45 and 64 - 44%
65 plus - 42%
Keeping with RRH's philosophical policy against unnecessary weighting, this survey was weighted only for age and geography. Weighting for age was done to decrease the percentage of seniors in the sample, which in the raw data was higher than the expected electorate. The racial breakdown is not informative as the sample (and expected electorate) are both overwhelmingly white.
East TN - 43%
Middle TN - 35%
West TN - 22%
The sample was weighted by geography because the raw data under-sampled Middle Tennessee. These ratios are based on the average number of Republican general election votes for Governor, Senator, and House in each of the Grand Divisions from 2004-08, with some minor changes to account for generally high GOP primary turnout in historically Republican East Tennessee.
Republican - 84%
Democratic - 16%
As one would expect, the overwhelming majority of participants in this Republican (open) Primary are registered Republicans.
Tea Party - 25%
Conservative but not Tea Party - 56%
Not Conservative - 15%
While the majority of voters identify as conservative, only about a quarter consider themselves Tea Party members or supporters.
|45 to 64||44%||27%||5%||6%||18%|
Interestingly, there is no real gender gap in this survey; men and women break at roughly the same rate between Alexander and Carr. Alexander also leads with voters over 45, while those under 45 break almost evenly between Alexander, Carr, and being undecided.
Democratic crossover vote is essentially irrelevant in this race, as registered Republicans break for Alexander at nearly the same rate as the overall voting population. Democratic support seems to be key to propping up the vote shares for the four unnamed "other" candidates; it is questionable whether these voters will turn out next week. As expected, Tea Party voters break very strongly for Carr, while non-Tea Party voters go heavily for Alexander.
Carr's support is clustered in his native Middle Tennessee, while Alexander has stronger support in the state's East and West. Carr is also hurt by a split in the anti-Alexander vote with Flinn in West Tennessee.
Support in Tennessee's Grand Divisons. Blue - 20+ point Alexander lead; Green - 10+ point Carr lead
RRH placed 5000 calls via IVR operator PMI Inc. on July 28, 29, and 30, 2014 to voters who had cast ballots in two of the last three statewide Republican primaries in Tennessee. We considered this population a rough approximation of those likely to vote in this year's primary. The calls used the script seen at the end of this document. Respondents who indicated a disinclination to vote in Question 1 or did not complete the topline response (Question 2) were not included in the survey. These manipulations resulted in a total survey population of 400 likely voters. Respondents who did not complete Question 3 or 6 had their responses marked as "other", while those that did not complete Question 4 or 5 were demographically typed using the best available information in the voter file. Geographic and party registration information was derived from the information available in the voter file. As RRH has a philosophical preference for raw data over our own assumptions, we strove to limit weighting wherever possible. The data were weighted by age (to reduce an oversampling of senior voters in the raw data) and by geographical Grand Division (to reduce an undersampling of Middle Tennessee). Random deletion was not used as a method of weighting. Funding for this poll was provided entirely through the generous donations of RRH readers; RRH did not receive donations from any candidate, campaign, party, or independent organization attempting to affect the outcome of this race.
A week ahead of the Tennessee Republican Senate Primary, a Red Racing Horses (RRH) Poll shows that Sen. Lamar Alexander is in good, but not great, position to win renomination for a third term. While he is leading his principal opponent, State Representative Joe Carr, by 12 points, Alexander is still below 50%, and the high number of undecided voters in the race leaves the door at least slightly open to an upset. The following data set presents a profile of undecided voters:
Republicans - 76%
Democrats - 23%
Tea Party - 26%
Conservative but not Tea Party - 46%
Not Conservative - 24%
East TN - 41%
Middle TN - 31%
West TN - 28%
Simply put, the undecided voters look very much like the electorate as a whole. As a result, none of the campaigns should likely expect a massive bump from late-deciding voters in the current electorate. The only concentrations of undecided voters appear to be registered Democrats (who may not vote) and those from West Tennesee (who are perhaps undecided between Carr and Flinn). However, these groups are not likely to break heavily enough to swing the election. If Carr is to pull the upset next week, he needs to dramatically change the electorate by bringing out his Tea Party and Middle Tennessee base, cut into Alexander's margins in West and East Tennesee (where Carr is little-known and thus has low support), and consolidate support from those voting for the other non-Alexander candidates. While an upset is theoretically possible, Carr will need almost everything to go his way. As for Alexander, a strong strategy for the next week is likely to focus on bringing out his base of moderately conservative voters, particularly in East Tennessee, and making sure George Flinn remains an option for Tea Party voters in West Tennessee to scatter their votes away from Carr. However, at this late point, staying the course with current campaign plans seems a viable option for Alexander as well.
About Red Racing Horses:
Red Racing Horses (redracinghorses.com) is a collaborative, Republican-oriented blog focusing on horserace politics. We offer daily news updates on the American political landscape and stimulating discussion of upcoming elections. RRH is run by a team of eight volunteer hobbyists, and our website and polling are funded by generous donations from our readers. We have conducted polls of congressional general elections in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, and a Senate primary in Mississippi. RRH is not affiliated with any campaign or political advocacy organization.
1. There is a Republican primary election for the US Senate on August 7. Are you likely to vote in it?
Press 1 if you are likely to vote
Press 2 if you are not likely to vote
2. In the Republican primary, are you most likely to vote for Lamar Alexander, Joe Carr, George Flinn, or another candidate on the ballot - or are you totally undecided?
Press 1 if you are most likely to vote for Lamar Alexander
Press 2 if you are most likely to vote for Joe Carr
Press 3 if you are most likely to vote for George Flinn
Press 4 if you are most likely to vote for another candidate on the ballot
Press 5 if you are totally undecided
3. Do you consider yourself a member or supporter of the Tea Party?
Press 1 if you consider yourself a Tea Party member or supporter
Press 2 if you consider yourself conservative, but not a member or supporter of the Tea Party
Press 3 if you do not consider yourself politically conservative
4. For statistical purposes, please let us know your gender:
Press 1 if you are male
Press 2 if you are female
5. For statistical purposes, please let us know your age:
Press 1 if you are between 18 and 44
Press 2 if you are between 45 and 64
Press 3 if you are 65 plus
6. Tennessee's other Senator, Bob Corker, is not up for re-election this year, but has indicated he may consider running for President in 2016. Would you consider supporting his campaign?
Press 1 if you would likely support Bob Corker in the Republican primary for President in 2016.
Press 2 if you may support Bob Corker under the right circumstances, but are more likely to back another candidate in the Republican primary for President in 2016.
Press 3 if you would not support Bob Corker in the Republican primary for President in 2016.