A new Power Poll released Thursday shows Chattanooga leaders supporting Democrat Joe Biden for president and predicting a win for him over Republican incumbent Donald Trump in the November election, aligning with national polling data.
The non-scientific survey of 178 business and community leaders in the Chattanooga area, of which 77 responded, showed more than half (59.7%) have voted for Biden or intend to do so, and nearly three quarters (72.7%) of the respondents predicted Biden would win the election.
About 32.5% of respondents voted or will vote for Trump, and 27.3% predicted he would win.
"It's a very exciting time for Democrats, because of the climate and how divisive this president is, people are looking for a leader who's going to unite us regardless of what party," Hamilton County Democratic Party Vice Chairman Dennis Clark said Thursday. "And so I'm not surprised that people are leaning more towards the uniter-in-chief versus the divider-in-chief. And Biden is definitely the leader that we need to begin to heal this nation and to unite us. And so that's the only reason why I can explain why people are just gravitating towards his message.
"People want to feel American again. People want to feel a sense of decency again. People want to feel united again, and Biden is that candidate."
Leaders of the Hamilton County Republican Party Executive Committee did not respond to a request for comment in time for the Times Free Press print deadline but their comments will be added to the online version of this story, if received.
A majority of respondents (54.5) predicted Republicans will maintain control of the U.S. Senate.
"I think there are going to be a lot of upsets across the country because there are a lot of Republicans starting to disavow Trump," Clark said, citing close Senate races in traditionally Republican states of Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. "I think we can look forward to a lot of upsets because you've got a lot of Democrats pushing out the vote and a lot of people sick of the divide."
Survey participants also indicated a preference for in-person early voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic — turnout for which has far exceeded previous years locally and on statewide and national levels — with 75.3% indicating they have or will vote in-person early, roughly 13% choosing mail-in voting and just 11.7% planning to vote on Election Day.
Survey respondents who offered comments on the election seemed eager to have it behind them.
"After the election, no matter which way it goes, we will need healing," Eleanor Cooper said. "The local community is where we can work together on things that are important to us."
Poll participant Thomas White said simply, "God help us all."
The Power Poll is a survey of elected officials and leaders from business, civic and nonprofit organizations, media and education. While the survey is not a scientific poll, results offer insights into the opinions and beliefs of key decision-makers in the area.
While not a scientific reflection of the Chattanooga area, it has accurately predicted some previous elections and decisions including the 2018 Senate race between Phil Bredesen and Marsha Blackburn, but has also missed the mark on others, including the 2020 Democratic Primary election.
This month's poll predicts the same outcome in the presidential race as prominent national polls, which give Biden a significant chance of winning, but differs from most polling on the Senate race, which predicts Democrats will win the Senate and maintain the House.
Power Polls among metropolitan leaders across the state showed similar results with Knoxville, with respondents supporting Biden (56%) over Trump (34.8%) and Nashville respondents favoring Biden the strongest (81.9%) over Trump (18.1%). Each municipality predicted Biden winning the election.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at email@example.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.