New polls show incumbents ahead

By Zachary Toillion

A recent round of polling has shed light on several key races in Tennessee. Incumbents heading for re-election have plenty to feel optimistic about.

Incumbent Gov. Bill Haslam appears as though he is safely headed toward a second term, besting Democratic challenger and former school teacher John McKamey by a margin of 23 percent, according to a recent poll conducted by CBS in collaboration with The New York Times and the online polling company, Yougov.

Sen. Alexander also appears likely to win re-election against Democratic candidate Gordon Ball, an attorney from Knoxville vying for his party’s nomination. According to the same poll, Alexander leads Ball 45 to 31 percent.

In order for Sen. Alexander to even get to that point, he must win the August 9 GOP Senate primary. An internal Republican primary poll commissioned from the Alexander re-election campaign showed Alexander leading Tea Party challenger Joe Carr 53 to 21 percent. This poll diverged considerably from internal polling from the Carr campaign showing the race in a dead heat.

This year has been tricky for polling Republican primaries. Internal polling in Eric Cantor’s district showed him comfortably ahead by a 30 point margin, only for him to lose by 10 percent on election night. Polls also indicated Chris McDaniel and Jack Kingston were likely to win their respective run-off elections. Both lost. The Alexander campaign can take comfort in the fact that the poll was conducted by Whit Ayres, a Republican who performed the polling for Lindsey Graham’s successful primary election.

Polling data suggests there won’t be surprises on either the primary or general election, but as recent history suggests, political upsets are nearly impossible to predict.

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