Date: August 27, 2001
Subject: Shelby County Polling Results
Our research is completed and we wanted to provide you with a brief statement of our key findings and their implications. These findings are based on 400 completed interviews taken from a sample of likely May, 2002 Democratic Primary election voters in Shelby County, Tennessee. Interviews were conducted August 15, 16, and 18, 2001. Sampling error is +/- 4.9%. Respondents were carefully screened to reflect voters in the May, 2001 Democrat Primary election. Our expectation is that most of the turnout will be limited to those firm Democratic voters. Summary Conclusion: You lead the field of candidates in the Democratic primary election for Shelby County Mayor, as you are the best-known candidate and have over a four-to-one favorability ratio. Carol Chumney benefits from being the only woman in the race, but still trails you significantly. Byrd is relatively unknown and trails far behind you and also trails Chumney overall. Other Key Findings: F The Candidates Nearly two-thirds of the voters are familiar with you, with four times as many having a favorable impression of you as have an unfavorable impression. Carol Chumney is less known to voters than you are, and Harold Byrd is largely unknown. Byrd also has a much lower favorability ratio. Your name recognition is bolstered by your strong profile in your Memphis based Senate District. Your image among Democratic voters has improved significantly from when you ran for reelection last year. Your income tax position has not hurt you with key Democratic constituencies and most people have forgotten the gas issue. Your favorability rating is especially high among those voters who have heard of all the candidates. Chumney is not as well known among African Americans as you are, and yet black voters will comprise a majority of the primary vote. Byrds profile is much weaker in Memphis than in the rest of Shelby County. Because Memphis accounts for 85% of likely Democratic primary voters, your strong Memphis base works to your advantage and against Byrd. F The Election When voters are given basic biographical information about the candidates, you lead with over one-third of the vote, followed by Chumney in second and Byrd trailing by a wide margin. Chumney benefits from being the only woman in the race, performing particularly well among young, white women. About one-fifth of her support comes from voters, particularly women, who do not know any of the candidates and likely vote for her only because they want a woman. Over the course of the campaign, this is likely to change if you emphasize womens issues, your wifes popularity and the fact you are the only candidate who is married with children. As the candidate raising a young family, you will be able to connect better with voters on important local issues such as schools, crime and taxes. In addition, your vote share is larger among voters who presently recognize all three candidates, which is a reflection of your credibility. Byrds support is limited to voters in the Seventh Congressional District outside Memphis and older men, and he performs poorly among most other groups. Conclusion: You are the clear front-runner, with the highest name recognition and the broadest base of support. You perform well in both Memphis and the rest of Shelby County. Chumney benefits from being the only woman in the race, leading among voters who do not recognize any of the candidates, but performs poorly outside Memphis. Byrds support is limited to suburban Shelby County, and shows little potential in Memphis. Lastly, among voters who know all three candidates, you win. Call with any questions.