The following is the text of a memo from the consultant/polling firm representing senatorial candidate Lamar Alexander
, showing the former governor's purported strength in Shelby County.
From: Whit Ayres, President
Ayres, McHenry and Associates, Inc.
Date: May 8, 2002
Subject: Highlights of Shelby County Republican Primary Poll for U.S. Senate
As part of our survey of likely Republican primary voters throughout Tennessee, we over-sampled Republican primary voters in Shelby County to assess support for the candidates for U.S. Senate just in that county. Highlights of the Shelby County survey, with a total of 253 likely Republican primary voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 6.29 percent, are:
Even though Shelby County produced almost half of Ed Bryant's votes in his last congressional election, Governor Alexander leads Bryant in Shelby County on the Senate primary ballot test. Alexander leads Bryant by 45 to 40 percent among likely Shelby County Republican primary voters, with the remainder undecided.
Alexander's advantage includes leads among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote and those who consider themselves strong Republicans. Alexander leads Bryant by 44 to 40 percent among likely primary voters who say they are "absolutely certain" to vote, and by 50 to 36 percent among strong Republicans.
Alexander has both a higher favorable rating and better name recognition in Shelby County than does Bryant. Alexander's favorable to unfavorable rating among these Shelby County Republican primary voters is 74 to 15 percent, with 96 percent name recognition. Bryant's favorable to unfavorable rating is 69 to 4 percent, with 88 percent name recognition.
Lamar Alexander shows remarkable strength in Ed Bryant's political base, and he is well positioned to defeat Bryant in Shelby County. Should he do so, it will be very difficult for Bryant to win statewide.