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The Tennessee Star Poll: GOP Gubernatorial Primary Race is Wide Open, No Candidate Over 10 Percent

Tennessee Star
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FRANKLIN, Tennessee – A new poll released by The Tennessee Star conducted by Triton Polling and Research of 1,007 likely Tennessee Republican primary voters shows that the party’s nomination for governor in 2018 is wide open, as no announced or likely candidate has the support of more than 10 percent of likely voters. More than 60 percent are undecided.

When asked  “If the election was held today, who would you vote for governor of Tennessee,” and given seven possible candidates–State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) Congresswoman Diane Black, Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), Speaker of the Tennessee House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, and State Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville)–the likely Tennessee Republican primary voters surveyed in the poll responded as follows:

60.9% — Don’t Know Undecided
9.9% — Diane Black
8.1% — Randy Boyd
6.3% — Mark Green
4.3% — Beth Harwell
4.1% — Bill Lee
3.9% — Mae Beavers
2.5% — Mark Norris

poll

Since the poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent, six of the seven candidates included in the poll are in a virtual tie for the lead.

Mark Norris is the only candidate not in the statistical tie, but he is barely below the range of support found among the other six candidates polled.

The poll began before Mark Green withdrew from the race. His announcement came midway through the poll.

“Several things jump off the page when looking at the poll numbers for the governor’s race in the Tennessee Republican primary,” media consultant and political analyst Steve Gill tells The Star.

“First, it is wide open at this point with 60 percent of likely Republican voters up for grabs,” Gill says.

“The single digit support for each candidate also underlines the lack of name ID and awareness of each candidate. They all have pretty much a blank slate to define themselves and their opponents. Those with money who can do that sooner rather than later will have a significant advantage,” he adds.

But money is not the only factor that will play in the outcome of the August 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary.

“The ideological split among the candidates will be important, too,” Gill adds.

“With several candidates fighting over the same pool of conservative voters–even if it is a majority of likely conservative voters–Boyd has a relatively open lane in the moderate Republican pool,” Gill notes.

Boyd has specifically used the term “moderate” to describe himself, as The Star reported previously.

“But if one of the conservatives can successfully make the case that THEY are more in line with the conservative agenda, then one could emerge  ahead of the pack,” Gill adds.

“Mae Beavers, because of issues, and Diane Black, because of resources, are the ones most likely to do that,” Gill says.

Voter intensity is likely to play a significant role in the outcome of the 2018 Tennessee Republican primary for governor.


The Star
reported earlier on Tuesday that President Trump’s approval rating among Tennessee’s likely Republican primary voters is sky high: 86 percent approve of his job performance, while only 11 percent disapprove. Intensity of support for Trump is also very high among Tennessee’s likely Republican primary voters: 64 percent strongly approve of his job performance, while 22 percent somewhat approve.

“Voter intensity on key issues will have a huge impact on where voters ultimately end up,” Gill tells The Star.

“Right now we see high and intense support for Trump among Tennessee Republican voters. Depending on whether that support is maintained and how his key issues play out over the next year, the Trump factor may play a big role in several GOP primary races,” Gill concludes.

 

The Tennessee Star Poll also asked likely Republican primary voters about Senator Bob Corker’s 2018 re-election prospects as well as their views on three key issues expected to dominate the 2018 Gubernatorial campaign: repeal of the gas tax, in-state tuition for illegal aliens, and “Constitutional Carry.”

Those results will be released on Wednesday.

The poll, which was commissioned by The Tennessee Star and conducted by Triton Polling and Research in an automated (IVR) telephone survey of 1,007 likely Tennessee Republican Primary voters between May 31 and June 5, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

You can read the gubernatorial head-to-head match up question from page 2 of the top line poll results, as well as pages 1, 4 and 5, here:

Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017
Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017
Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017
Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017

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9 thoughts on “The Tennessee Star Poll: GOP Gubernatorial Primary Race is Wide Open, No Candidate Over 10 Percent

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  2. Mae Beavers 2018

    Go Mae Beavers!!!

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  8. “Nobody else has a track record of performance,” says Mitchell. “They’ve run private businesses. But they haven’t administered a governmental office.”

    Mitchell, the only candidate with tax policy training, says he has cut spending at the property assessor’s office while still upholding its constitutional responsibilities and shedding light on wasteful spending in county government. The former insurance agent also says he studied every budget in Tennessee’s 95 counties and authored a paper on a formula and policy for running government offices.

    He set a July 1 date for deciding whether to run, saying if his message resonates with people, then he’ll take the leap. Other announced Republican candidates include Franklin businessman Bill Lee, former Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and state Sen. Mae Beavers. Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black is considering a run as well.

    Three of Mitchell’s main planks, if he enters the race, will be immediately repealing the fuel-tax increase passed by the Legislature this year and reforming fuel taxes, stopping privatization of state parks and revamping economic and community development statewide.

    Mitchell says the gas-tax increase, which was combined with a series of tax reductions in the food tax, franchise and excise taxes for businesses and the Hall income tax, wasn’t needed because of the surpluses the state is experiencing.

    Tennessee had a $1 billion surplus in one-time money for the 2017-18 budget, along with $1 billion in projected extra recurring funding. Mitchell points out Tennessee had a $149 million surplus in May alone.

  9. […] Tennessee Star Poll released last week showed that none of the announced or potential candidates have more than 10 percent of the vote among likely Republican primary voters and the race for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination in 2018 is wide open. The primary will be […]

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