published Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Tennessee Sen. Alexander's campaign polling shows 4-to-1 lead over Rep. Carr

NASHVILLE — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander's campaign says the Tennessee Republican's latest polling shows him with at a 56-14 over his best-known GOP primary opponent, state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.

The May 12-14 survey of 600 likely Republican voters, conducted for Alexander by North Star Opinion Research, says Alexander has at least a four-to-one advantage over any of his GOP rivals.

The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

North Star President Whit Ayres said in his polling memo to the campaign that the full ballot test of Alexander's opponents show they "remain unknown to the overwhelming majority of Republican primary voters. Sixty-seven percent of primary voters have never heard of Joe carr, almost identical to the 70 percent who had never heard of him in February."

Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said they have never heard of Fred Anderson while 85 percent don't know about Memphis millionaire George Flinn. Tennesseans were even less familiar with John D. King (91 percent), Christian Agnew (92 percent), Brenda S. Lenard (93 percent) and Erin Kent Magee (95 percent).

Ayres said Alexander also "continues to hold high job approval ratings across the state and among key subgroups of the primary electorate. Statewide Alexander’s job approval is 66 to 28 percent, including 70 to 22 percent in East Tennessee, 61 to 36 percent in Middle Tennessee, and 64 to 26 percent in West Tennessee.

"Strong Republicans approve of his job performance by 72 to 22 percent, as do evangelical Christians by 65 to 27 percent, and very conservative voters by 62 to 33 percent," Ayres said. "This campaign looks essentially the same today as it did in August of 2013 and February of this year. Senator Alexander remains in a very strong position to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, a survey released last Friday by independent polling firm Rasmussen Reports says Alexander and Carr "both far outdistance the top two Democratic hopefuls in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race, but Alexander is the stronger of the two GOP candidates."

The poll of 750 likely voters, conducted April 29-30, found 50 percent said they backed Alexander in a general election versus 26 percent for Knoxville attorney Terry Adams, a Democrat. The poll said 51 percent backed Alexander in a general election versus 25 percent for Democrat Gordon Ball, another Knoxville attorney and a multi-millionaire.

The margin of sampling error in the Rasmussen survey is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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