Cohen a decisive victor over Herenton in poll - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cohen a decisive victor over Herenton in poll

Rep. Steve Cohen Rep. Steve Cohen
Mayor Willie Herenton Mayor Willie Herenton

By Ursula Madden - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Who would win if Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton ran against Congressman Steve Cohen for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives?  Action News 5 is the only station with an official poll, and the results are nothing short of remarkable.

To read the full results of the poll, click here.

Yacoubian Research conducted the scientific poll, questioning 370 people.  To qualify for the survey, a person had to be at least 18-years old, be registered to vote in Shelby County, and live in the 9th District with plans to vote in the Democratic Primary next year.

The numbers show a head-to-head contest between Herenton and Cohen would result in a crushing defeat for Herenton.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus five points, and probably no one was more surprised with the results than the pollster, Berje Yacoubian.

"His support among all demographic groups is amazing," Yacoubian said of Cohen.

Yacoubian was stunned by what his questions revealed about a head-to-head match up between power house politicians Herenton and Cohen.

Voters were asked: How would you grade Steve Cohen as a U.S. Congressman?

  • 46% said Cohen is doing an excellent job
  • 38% said good
  • Nearly 9 1/2% said average
  • 1% said Cohen's performance is below average
  • Less than 1% percent said he's doing a poor job
  • 4 1/2% weren't sure

When asked: How would you grade Willie Herenton as Memphis Mayor?

  • Nearly 14% said the mayor is doing an excellent job
  • 28% said good
  • 19% said average
  • 7% rated the mayor below average
  • Nearly 28% said Mayor Herenton is doing a poor job
  • Roughly 3% weren't sure

"The other thing that was surprising was how unpopular the mayor has become, even among African Americans," Yacoubian said.

And according to the poll, voters don't want to see the Herenton in a 9th district race.

"Most people don't want the mayor to run against Congressman Cohen," Yacoubian said. Fifty-six percent said it's a bad idea."

When asked: If the August 2010 Democratic Primary election for U.S. Congress is between Steve Cohen and Willie Herenton, which one would you vote for?       

  • 65% would cast a ballot for Steve Cohen
  • 14% would cast a ballot for Willie Herenton
  • 20% weren't sure

"Giving the Mayor everything that is left out there, which are undecided, he's still going to fall short," Yacoubian said.

Yacoubian believes a 9th District congressional race would be an up-hill race for Herenton, and a sprint for Cohen.

"Regardless of age, education level, income level, geographical area, he is ahead of the Mayor in every area," Yacoubian said.

By phone Tuesday, Cohen said the numbers were consistent with what he feels when he goes through the district and talks with constituents who want him to continue what he is doing in Washington.

Cohen added he does not believe the poll is "a poor reflection on Mayor Herenton."

"Usually, congressional races are a referendum on the incumbent," he said.

Mayor Herenton did not want to comment about the exclusive poll, but close advisor Pete Aviotti said Herenton was still putting together an advisory committee, and that no decision has been made.  

Mr. Aviotti went on to say, "The Mayor does not believe in surveys."

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