The Campaign Spot

Tennesseans Weigh In On Hillary’s Chances In Her Own State

Tennesseans, former Tennesseans, and near-Tennesseans respond to the poll showing Hillary leading Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney there. First up, Sam:

I don’t pretend to have my fingers on the pulse of Tennesseans, but I can attest to a few things about that match-up.  As a general rule, Tennesseans are very proud of anyone from their home state that makes it to the “big-time.”  Fred has certainly done this and Tennesseans want to have “one of their own” in the White House.  Gore, as you remember, lost Tennessee in 2000, this could be in part due to the lack of his identity as a Tennessean, but rather as a part of the Washingtonian elite.  Hillary is pulling good numbers in Tennessee according to your cited poll but that is perhaps mostly attributed to her huge lead nationwide. 

Mike writes: 

Hillary moving up in the General Election polls, in Tennessee or overall (Rasmussen), mostly reflects her emerging as the consensus Democratic nominee. With her ‘way out front and a three-horse race on the other side, people don’t want to tell a pollster they will support someone who may not even be running by then. Should be worth 4-5% anyway. When it’s down to St. George and the Dragon, who knows? 

Former Tennessean Chris doubts the results on election day will resemble that poll:

Just relocated in June from Tennessee to Richmond… I lived in Tennessee from 2001 to 2007, first in the Memphis area and then near Nashville.
Hillary beat Rudy or Mitt… in Tennessee? Hillary? Feh, remain skeptical. Either Rudy or Mitt will beat her like a rented mule on social- and national-security issues. Plus, tax-related concerns will sink her there — Tennessee has no state income tax, and they like it that way.

Wilson in Memphis sees some possible avenues for Hillary:

Middle TN has an awful lot of “yellow dog” DEMS. If they like her, AND, if the black vote in Memphis turns out big, she could win. Harold Ford, Jr. nearly pulled it off against Corker, and that was with three of his Ford relatives, all politicians, under indictment.
Working against her, the GOV is a popular pro-busines DEM who thinks the party needs to move to the middle. He’s on record as having opposed “another Northeastern liberal” for the DEM nomination. He made his own fortune in healthcare, and isn’t likely to support any of her plans. He worked for Ford. 

Nancy in Columbia, Tennessee thinks the results reflect the level of attention this early:

Could Hillary win Tennessee? In a word, no.  How would Hillary pull off what native Tennessean Al Gore could not? Remember, in 2000, Al Gore was just as popular for his “lock box” than constant environmental nagging. If he couldn’t win his home state, Hillary hasn’t a prayer.  (Not to mention, red state Democrats break into hives at the shrill Hillary.)
Also, the Rasmussen poll asks the question today.  To be honest, I don’t see a great number of Tennesseans who are fully engaged in an election that is still over a year away. We’ve been experiencing a major drought down here and the price of hay is of much greater concern.

Finally, Curt lays out a good case for taking these, and in fact most polling results with a grain of salt:

The TN poll has Giuliani losing by 2 but it has him winning Alabama by 16. These results are totally incompatible if you look at past elections: 
2004 Bush by 14% TN Bush by 25% AL difference 11%
2000 Bush by 4% TN Bush by 15% AL difference 11% (Gore on opposing ticket)
1996 Clinton by 2% in TN Dole by 7% AL difference 9% (Gore “, Perot)
1992 Clinton by 4% TN Bush by 7% AL difference 11% (Gore “, Perot)
1988 Bush by 16% TN Bush by 19% AL difference 3%
1984 Reagan by 16% in TN Reagan by 23% AL difference 7%1
980 Reagan by .3% in TN Reagan by 1.3% AL difference 1% 
Since Reagan picked the lock and then smashed to pieces the Democratic lock on Dixie in 84, GOP has averaged 7% wins in TN, 16% wins in Alabama, an average difference of 9%.  If Giuliani is losing TN to Hillary by 2%, he should be winning Alabama only by about 7%, like happened in ‘96. If he is winning Alabama by 16%, he should be winning TN by about 7%, like in 2000, more or less.
Something is very off here.  Unless Rasmussen can explain why these two states suddenly would differ by 18%, much more than the historical average, I would suggest it’s just another case of more inaccurate state polls.  Averages have been startlingly consistent over the last four elections.

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