Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GOP Won First Round of Turnout Game, but Dems on the Move

Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 8:27 AM

Two charts from the July 28 Yacoubian poll
  • Two charts from the July 28 Yacoubian poll
The bottom line of early voting: The Republicans (whether voting in the Democratic primary to express themselves on Cohen vs. Herenton or voting in the GOP gubernatorial primary) voted higher than their usual scale for Shelby County — 43 percent, as against 56-plus percent for Democrats.

(Former mayor Willie Herenton may have a point when he stresses the distinction between the 9th District “subset” and the county totals, by the way, but that’s another tale).

The GOP can take heart from those figures, because key Democrats have made it known that they aren’t comfortable in such situations with anything less than 60 percent on their end of the ratio.

But note: The silver lining from the Democratic point of view is that they experienced a late upsurge from the 52-55 percent range they had been experiencing during most of the early-voting period. So palpable was the surge that GOP chairman Lang Wiseman, who had been one of the early drum-beaters for the Republican turnout, began treating the high-turnout talk as a danger to his side in the sense that the Democrats took alarm and began trying to compensate.

The race for Shelby County Mayor mirrors the situation, and it also measures the success of interim county mayor Joe Ford, the Democrat, in nailing down as much as he can of the white Democratic vote, concentrated in Midtown and East Memphis.

The Berje Yacoubian poll that was released on WMC-TV, Action News 5, Tuesday night is instructive. The survey, which was completed on July 28, shows Ford increasing his share of the total white vote from 6 percent to 13 percent since the last Yacoubian poll in mid-July. Overall, the proportion of the race shifted from a 46 percent to 42 percent lead for Luttrell to a 45 to 42 percent result. A slight shift, but perceptible, and one which could reflect momentum.

The poll also finds that, among those who had not voted by July 28 but planned to vote by Election Day, Thursday, August 5, Luttrell’s lead was 41 to 39k with a full 20 percent undecided.

Yacoubian estimates that if the turnout figures remain as they were during early voting, Luttrell should win the election by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent. But if the Democrats should hit their target figure of 60 percent by the close of voting on Thursday, August 5, Election Day, the winner would be Ford by the same margin.

The other countywide races — many of which are roughly balanced at the moment between the Republican and Democratic candidates — could be expected to reflect the same basic patterns.

The Republicans won Round One of the Get-Out-the-Vote contest, early-voting, but the game is still on for the election as a whole.

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