Poll puts Memphis mayoral candidates in dead heat - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach and Kontji Anthony

Poll puts Memphis mayoral candidates in dead heat

According to a new poll released Wednesday, the Memphis mayoral race is a dead heat between the three top candidates.

The poll, conducted by Yacoubian Research, shows Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton grabbing 30% of voters, challenger Carol Chumney in second place with 28% of the votes, and Herman Morris in third place with 21%.

The Reaction

Wednesday, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said he doesn't put much stock in polls.

"Let me tell you what really is going here," he said. "The vast majority of Memphians, black and white, South Memphis, East Memphis, Midtown...when they really think about how far this city has come under Herenton's leadership, they are going to vote for Herenton."

The 4% margin of error puts Carol Chumney in a statistical dead heat with Herenton, a position she has maintained throughout previous polls.

"We're pleased we have the support of the public," she said. "We know we're in a dead heat. We are moving forward as quickly as we can to win this election, and we're calling upon all of the people in Memphis to unite behind our campaign. We are the only viable candidate to beat the incumbent and bring the change we need to Memphis."

Morris didn't let his third place standing deter his enthusiasm.

"It's showing we're still moving up. We've still got momentum," he said. "That a poll is a week old and we haven't stopped moving...we're going and we're catching up to the pack and we're not going to stop. We're going to run straight through to election day."

The Pollster

Berje Yacoubian of Yacoubian Research agreed that Morris should not be counted out yet.  High income people, who favor Morris the most, according to Yacoubian, are less likely to take part in election polls.

Yacoubian said his poll revealed both racial and gender differences.  "The Mayor is doing better among African American males, especially younger African American males, than he's doing among African American females, especially older African American females."
The poll also found Chumney has just as much African American support as Morris.  "Caucasian females are significantly more likely to vote for Carol Chumney," he said. "One the other hand, white males were just as likely to vote for Herman Morris as they are for Chumney."

Undecided voters are leaning away from the mayor when it comes to crime and schools, but they favor him in terms of economic development.

"In two out of three issues, they favor Carol Chumney or Herman Morris over the Mayor," Yacoubian said.

Geography plays a role:

  • Chumney would win by far in East Memphis, followed by Morris and then Herenton.
  • In Central Memphis, Herenton is followed by Morris and then Chumney.
  • In North Memphis, Herenton is up by a far stretch, followed by Chumney, then Morris.
  • In South Memphis, Herenton almost doubles Chumney's numbers, and Morris follows.

Click here to email Janice Broach
Click here to email Kontji Anthony.

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