Vandy Poll: Obama Now Ahead of Potential Republican Foes in TN

President Barack Obama ran ahead of five major Republican candidates for president in Tennessee, according to a Vanderbilt University poll reported Sunday in The Tennessean. But many in the 700-person survey they would prefer to select neither candidate, suggesting voters in the state are hoping a standard-bearer will emerge from the long primary season that is only now beginning.
“I don’t think this will signal that Obama is going to win in Tennessee. I just think it shows that Republicans have work to do,” said John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt who helped oversee the poll.
“They (voters) don’t know much about most of them (the candidates). … The nominating process will make Republicans look better.”
Obama’s approval rating stands at 44 percent, virtually unchanged since January, according to the poll. Fifty percent of Tennesseans disapprove of Obama, the poll found.
…(Of Republican candidates included in the poll) former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did best, trailing the president by just 2.3 percentage points. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin did worst, lagging by 13.5 percentage points.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann fell8.6 percentage points to 12.3 percentage points behind Obama.
Adam Nickas, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, brushed off the deficits.
“Any poll that says Obama is up in Tennessee is a joke and shouldn’t be taken seriously,” he said. “Whoever the Republican nominee is, is going to be in a strong position to defeat Obama in Tennessee and nationwide.”

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