Tennessee Star Report on New Poll: Briley Crushes Swain in Potential Nashville Mayoral Runoff, But is Easily Defeated by Cooper


During a discussion Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy explained the recent Tennessee Star/ Triton poll of the upcoming August 1 Mayoral election in Nashville, Tennessee.

Here are the raw numbers from the poll:

  • David Briley 27.8 percent
  • Carol Swain 22 percent
  • John Cooper 19.8 percent
  • John Ray Clemmons  10.8 percent
  • Undecided 19.5 percent

If no candidate receives above 50 percent of the vote on August 1, a runoff of the top two vote getters will be held.

In a potential runoff between Briley and Swain, Briley wins easily, 50 percent to 31 percent.

In a potential runoff between Briley and Cooper, Cooper wins 42 percent to 31 percent.

Here’s the transcript of the discussion.


Gill: And as Michael’s been mentioning we have a new Tennessee Star Triton poll of likely Davidson county voters. Five hundred and forty-five likely Davidson county voters surveyed in the poll. And the poll shows continued reelection problems for Mayor David Briley. We did a poll a couple of months ago that showed David Briley was under water when it came to his approval ratings. More people disapprove than approve of him. So that’s because of his promotion of the ill fated transportation scheme that went down in flames with voters. He’s basically fumbled every policy issue…

(Inaudible cross talk)

Leahy: Really. He’s not got one right. Not got one right.

Gill: And it’s just being discussed in the last segment that they put together a budget that includes revenue that hasn’t been approved by the council. It is outrageous and perhaps what’s equally outrageous is the show game that the Metro Council and the Mayor are playing including the revenue from the overwhelmingly opposed parking meter scheme without passing the parking meter scheme to get the money in.

They’re also planning to sell off the Nashville thermal plant and other properties that they haven’t sold yet, yet they’re including those items in the funding of the budget to “balance the budget.” It’s outrageous what the Metro Council and the Mayor are doing. It is deceptive. It is a lie basically. The budget is built on a lie. What’s worse? Is that you’re not seeing News Channel 5, 2, 4, 17, The Tennessean, The Nashville Scene. None of the media outlets other than the Tennessee Star are paying any attention to this.

Leahy: And the candidates who could benefit from pointing this out, John Cooper and Carol Swain are not really highlighting that.

Gill: Yeah you think that that might be an avenue to point out that the Mayor is not being honest. I mean we just lost the last Mayor because of dishonesty, deception, a scandal. You know hers was sex his is a financial scandal of literally bouncing checks as the city of Nashville continues to move closer and closer to a bankruptcy status.

Leahy: And you could argue, you could argue Steve, that financial deception for the city is a worse crime shall we say or worse offense against the city than the sexual improprieties of Mayor Barry.

Gill: Certainly has a bigger impact on tax payers.

Leahy: That is true.

Gill: You’re going to see your taxes going up. You’re going to see spending tighten. You’ve got police officers. You’ve got firefighters. You’ve got first responders. You’ve had teachers that are being promised raises that they will not see down the road. They will not see perhaps this year because it is not clear that the Metro Council ultimately will even approve the parking scheme that they built into the budget if they lose some votes in the process.

So again, they have set Nashville up for failure and these other candidates ought to be pointing that out very loudly. The other interesting thing, again if you go to The Tennessee Star. You can check out the poll and see some of the other issues that are relevant. You know the Mayor’s, Mayor Briley’s also wanting to reduce the buses increase the fares for bus transportation. This is a guy who tried to shove his transportation scheme down our throats. Now he’s trying to balance the budget by eliminating seven or eight bus routes and raising the fares for buses and not getting it, most off these buses are empty so maybe it makes economic sense.

But when you ask people what they think about that they’re not exactly embracing it. The scooters. I mean if you still drive around downtown Nashville you’ll see these scooters laying all over the street that Briley announced with a big flurry because people hate these things, “We’re banning the scooters!” No he hasn’t. He’s announced that over a three or four weeks maybe three or four-month period he’s going to move change the way the scooter contract works.

But the scooters are still there. They’re still an annoyance. They’re still a danger. And while he makes his announcement, “Yes, I’m banning the scooters.” And the bobble heads at The Tennessean and some of the other news outlets nod their heads and say, “Yeah, he’s doing a great job.” Ah, the bottom line is he hasn’t done anything about that. Everything that David Briley says in terms of policy is either wrong or a lie.

Leahy: There’s not a single important issue that he hasn’t fumbled.

Gill: Now the other thing that is, I think you mentioned briefly. When you go a little deeper into the poll…

Leahy: Hmm hmm.

Gill: And we go beyond just the horse race which right now you’ve essentially got any of the three, Briley, Swain, or Cooper could win this race.

Leahy: Yes.

Gill: Cooper has come up nearly doubled his support in the last two months. Carol Swain has been flat. Carol Swain has essentially a ceiling of about twenty points. That’s what she got in the special election. That’s what she got in our first poll. That’s what she got in this poll. That’s what she got in the earlier poll we did for her in the special election period. She’s always right at the same spot.

Leahy: Twenty to 23 percent. That’s it.

Gill: She hasn’t expanded one bit.

Leahy: Yeah.

Gill: What you have seen is that there is some momentum for Cooper if he’ll get off the stick and do more.

Leahy: What is he doing? I haven’t seen what he’s been doing.

Gill: I don’t know.

Leahy: Yeah, I mean because this is an opportunity for either Carol Swain or John Cooper to win. John Cooper just hasn’t been stepping up to the plate and Carol has done somethings well and somethings not so well.

Gill: But it hasn’t moved her numbers.

Leahy: It hasn’t moved her numbers.

Gill: And then John Ray Clemons I don’t know what he’s doing either.

Leahy: Hasn’t moved his numbers.

Gill: He started at ten. He’s still at ten. He’s going nowhere. He’s a State Representative and has I guess his little base of he’s not some of the other people. I think a lot of the folks in this poll are voting against people more than they’re voting for people. Which is again where I think Cooper who has some momentum.

Has the resources to run a legitimate campaign. Has the opportunity to carry that momentum into a runoff. And here’s where the run off is significant. In Nashville, if you don’t get fifty percent plus one of the votes that are cast there’s a runoff. We’ve seen those in the past.

Leahy: Yes.

Gill: We didn’t see that during the special election a year ago.

Leahy: Yes.

Gill: Again, you had Carol Swain at about 20 percent. She was the leader of the pack of nobodies but they didn’t even get enough votes to keep Briley from getting…

Leahy: Who won 54-23. He easily surpassed 50 percent. But this time it looks like it’s going to be different.

Gill: Yeah as we pointed out two months ago because of the negatives that Briley is carrying forward because of the policy issues that he’s embraced and again the budget lie. The meters…

Leahy: The scooter lie.

Gill: All these things. The problem is if there’s a runoff, who makes the runoff? And right now again you’ve got Cooper and Swain very closely lined.

Leahy: Neck and neck.

Gill: Either one of them could be in second place in the votes in early August. If Carol Swain gets into the run off with Briley. And again if you’ll go to the Tennessee Star, you can see the whole poll. You can actually check the numbers, she gets obliterated.

Leahy: Yeah. Just crushed.

Gill: She gets obliterated.

Leahy: What if Cooper gets in?

Gill: If Cooper wins or gets second place and forces a runoff, he beats Briley. He beats Briley fairly handily…

Leahy: Yeah.

Gill: According to the new poll that we’ve just done. Again there’s some undecided votes out there. They would have to fight over that undecided. But you would see in the midem burst as the votes that Clemons and Swain are getting with Cooper are anti-Briley votes.

Leahy: Good point.

Gill: So if you want to see Briley re-elected vote for Carol Swain.


You can see the full poll results here:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://tennesseestar.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/190626-Triton-TN-Star-Davidson-County-Topline-Results.pdf” title=”190626 Triton – TN Star Davidson County – Topline Results”]

Listen to the full hour here.

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Nashville Mayor Debate” by the Tennessean




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