New Yacoubian Poll Shows Wharton in Easy Win

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Mayor A C Wharton
  • Mayor A C Wharton
Consistent with the consensus among pol-watchers and word on the street, too: That’s the bottom line of pollster Berje Yacoubian’s latest tracking poll on the 2011 Memphis mayor’s race. In a nutshell, Yacoubian finds incumbent A C Wharton headed toward an easy victory, but there is data, too, that shows weaknesses in the mayor’s support.

On the favorability scale, the latest survey, taken this month by Yacoubian Research, shows that 63 percent of 273 persons polled in the Memphis section of the poll (415 persons were surveyed in other, all-county portions of the poll) would rate Wharton’s job performance as either “excellent” (25 percent) or “good” (38 percent). Another 24 percent rate the mayor’s performance as “average,” while 3 percent would rate him “below average,” 5 percent regard his performance as “poor” and another 5 percent are “not sure.”

Matched against his best-known opponents, Wharton is the likely choice of 54 percent of 229 persons polled; Runner-up is former city councilman Edmund Ford Sr., with 7 percent. Perennial candidate Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges has 1 percent, and no one else, including Shelby County Commissioner James Harvey, has earned a full digit. Some 5 percent would prefer “someone else” unspecified, while 33 percent profess themselves “not sure.”

Wharton gets his best favorability scores from Memphians in the 65 to 74 age category; he is weakest among members of the youngest demographic polled, respondents aged 18-24. His scores rise proportionate to the educational status of those polled, as well as to the income status of respondents. The mayor fares well in all geographic areas, with little variation, but his best scores are among East Memphians.

Democrats (59.6 percent ”good” or “excellent”) like the mayor, but not to the degree that Republicans (71.8 percent “good” or “excellent”) do.

Perhaps the most interesting of Yacoubian’s findings is that Wharton, an African American, fares significantly better with whites (74.4 percent “good” or “excellent” with males, 72 percent with females) than with blacks (62.4 percent “good” or “excellent” among males, a mere 50.4 percent among females).

Only Ford comes close to challenging the mayor among the various demographic groups, and he only to a modest degree. The former councilman is neck-and-neck with Wharton only among the 18-24 group, a sample consisting of only 6 people. Ford gets double-digit ratings (and low ones, at that) only among African Americans and the group making between $10,000 and $20,000 annually.

Yacoubian noted that his poll results were taken just before a recent rash of publicity regarding opponent Ford’s endorsement by several labor groups, and he regards it as possible that the former councilman may rise higher in subsequent trackings closer to the October 6 election date. But Yacoubian sees it as highly unlikely that Wharton’s reelection can be significantly threatened.

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Alternate Views of Poll Materials

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