U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign says its latest poll shows the incumbent with a 56 percent to 14 percent lead over his best-known Republican primary challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr, with 22 percent undecided.
Here’s the memo distributed to media:
To: Steve Smith, Finance Chairman
Alexander for Senate
From: Whit Ayres, President
North Star Opinion Research
Date: May 15, 2014
Re: Alexander Holds At Least 4-to-1 Lead Over Any Republican Primary Opponent
Our firm conducted a survey of 600 likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee from May 12-14, 2014. The sample was drawn from past Republican primary voters, and all respondents indicated that they are either absolutely certain or very likely to vote in the Republican primary for federal and state offices this year. Calls were conducted using live interviewers, and 30 percent of the interviews were completed on cell phones. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.0 percent. Following are highlights of that survey.
1. Senator Alexander holds at least a 4-to-1 lead over any Republican primary opponent.
Alexander stands at 56 percent in a full ballot test, compared to 14 percent for Joe Carr, no more than 2 percent each for the six other opponents, and 22 percent undecided.
2. Senator Alexander’s opponents remain unknown to the overwhelming majority of Republican primary voters.
Sixty-seven percent of primary voters have never heard of Joe Carr, almost identical to the 70 percent who had never heard of him in February. Eighty-four percent have never heard of Fred Anderson, 85 percent have never heard of George Shea Flinn, 91 percent have never heard of John D. King, 92 percent have never heard of Christian Agnew, 93 percent have never heard of Brenda S. Lenard, and 95 percent have never heard of Erin Kent Magee.
3. Senator Alexander continues to hold high job approval ratings across the state and among key subgroups of the primary electorate. Statewide Alexander’s job approval is 66 to 28 percent, including 70 to 22 percent in East Tennessee, 61 to 36 percent in Middle Tennessee, and 64 to 26 percent in West Tennessee. Strong Republicans approve of his job performance by 72 to 22 percent, as do evangelical Christians by 65 to 27 percent, and very conservative voters by 62 to 33 percent.
This campaign looks essentially the same today as it did in August of 2013 and February of this year. Senator Alexander remains in a very strong position to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
Note: Here’s an emailed response from Donald Rickard, Carr’s campaign manager:
“After seeing what happened this week in Nebraska, it’s not surprising that Senator Alexander and his campaign are very worried about the threat that Joe Carr and Tennessee conservatives pose to his re-election. Why else would he release numbers this early? As this campaign unfolds and Joe invests in informing Tennessee voters about Sen. Alexander’s support for Common Core, the bail-out of Wall Street and amnesty – the environment surrounding this race will shift significantly.”