Yacoubian Poll Shows Herenton Leading...Barely

Chumney trails close behind, and Morris is finally making his move.

| September 26, 2007
A sample page of the Yacoubian poll
A sample page of the Yacoubian poll

With the final poll, the one to be taken of all voters on Election Day, Thursday, October 4th, just around the bend, late sampling taken by established local pollsters provide some clue as to what the portents are.

Berje Yacoubian, whose well-established Yacoubian Research firm has taken the measure of numerous significant elections over the last few decades, has provided The Flyer with exclusive use of the tables and results of a mayoral poll taken over a four-day period, with polling itself undertaken on Thursday night, September 20th, and Monday night, September 24th.

Some 395 respondents across various age, racial, and neighborhood lines were asked a variety of questions, and pollster Yacoubian reckons the degree of accuracy to be plus or minus 4.8 percent.

The bottom-line results: Respondents stated their preferences in this order - Herenton, 30 percent; Chumney, 28 percent; Morris, 21 percent; Willingham, 2 percent; undecided, 18 percent; none of the above, 1 percent.

Chumney, it would seem, is maintaining the viable position, at or near the lead, that she has held in a variety of polls going back to the spring. Morris appears to have broadened his support since those earlier polls, while Willingham has not managed to gain much ground.

Almost as telling are the results in other categories. Asked to evaluate the prior job performance of the candidates on a scale ranging from poor to excellent, councilwoman Chumney led the others with 40 percent rating her excellent or above average, followed by Morris with 33 percent in that category, Herenton with 31 percent; and Willingham with 15 percent.

\Incumbent mayor Herenton was rated as superior to the others on the scale of his ability to foster economic development, with a rating of 32 percent to Chumney's 28 percent to Morris' 20 percent to 1 percent for Willingham.

Chumney leads the others as most likely to produce good results for education, with 36 percent, compared to former schools superintendent Herenton's 29 percent and Morris' 13 percent, and Willingham's 2 percent.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Chumney, who has produced a 15-point crime plan, is rated best on that score, with 26 percent preferring her, to 24 percent for Herenton, whose Blue Crush plan is now in effect, to 20 percent for Morris, and 1 percent for Willingham.

(Willingham's relatively unimpressive showings may reflect voter uncertainty rather than disapproval, with a whopping 42 percent of respondents recording themselves as "not sure" about his job performance, compared to 22 percent for both Morris and Chumney and only 3 percent in that category for the mayor.)

Interestingly, a resurgent Morris led the other candidates when the question was, Who would be your second choice? He garnered 29 percent to 26 for Chumney, 7 for Willingham, and only 5 for Herenton.

An additional poll question asked voters for their attitude toward amending the city charter to mandate a two-term (8-year) limit for both the mayor and members of the city council. A convincing 71 percent approved the change, with 17 opposing it and 12 percent uncertain.

Percentage-wise, the sample of those polled broke down this way: African-American females, 35 percent; white females, 25 percent, and 20 percent apiece for both white males and African-American males.

Age-wise, the voters sampled were predominantly in the category of 35 to 64 years old, with 56 percent. Next came those 65 or older, 33 percent; and, finally, voters aged 34 and under, 10 percent.

The methodology of the poll assumes these breakdowns to be as close as possible to the ratios obtained in actual elections in recent years.

For the complete results, check links below.

Yacoubian Results Yacoubian Summary Yacoubian Addendum Yacoubian Methodology Yacoubian Crosstabulation admobile

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Comments (18)

Showing 1-18 of 18

Since the last Yacoubin Poll in late July, Herenton's support is up 1%, Chumney's has fallen 5% and Morris' is up 7%. Clearly, Morris has the momentum. The number that really stands out is the 18% in this poll that are undecided. This, along with the fact that the incumbent mayor is sitting at a putrid 30%, is not good news for Herenton. In most elections, voters who are undecided with just a few days left in a campaign usually vote 2 to 1 against the incumbent. If that occurs in this race, Herenton is toast.

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Posted by James Stubbs on 09/26/2007 at 3:32 PM

The poll clearly shows that Carol Chumney is the only person that can beat Herenton. Stating, "Chumney is maintaining a viable lead." Chumney is the only person trusted to reduce crime and is well ahead in job performance. Morris is behind 10 points or more. Carol Chumney is the only one who can win.

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Posted by Charles Bolden on 09/26/2007 at 4:58 PM

Carol for Mayor...this poll certainly shows Carol has the best chance of knocking Herenton off, but Herman is not dead yet. He has gained 7% since the last poll, while Carol has lost 5%. The word out there is that the final poll from the Commercial Appeal that comes out on Sunday will show the race nearly even between the top three candidates. Herenton is in serious trouble though. 30% in a poll for any incumbent indicates widespread dissatisfaction. If there were a run-off in this race, he would definitely lose.

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Posted by James Stubbs on 09/26/2007 at 5:17 PM

From the Memphis Flyer: "The bottom-line results: Respondents stated their preferences in this order - Herenton, 30 percent; Chumney, 28 percent; Morris, 21 percent; Willingham, 2 percent; undecided, 18 percent; none of the above, 1 percent." The undecided 18 percent. Great news for the people of Memphis. If the poll is accuracy, I see this. There are no Willie supporters in the undecided. The undecided are primarily those who haven't made up their mind between Morris, Chumney and Willingham. Willie may be beatable without having to rally around Morris or Chumney. You undecided might want to vote your choice of the two. Double the Willingham projection and give him two of the eighteen percent undecided, then if the rest splits between Morris and Chumney, it will be a great day for Memphis. New projection: Willie 30% Chumney 36% Morris 29% Willingham 4% Undecided 0% Let Willie file his law suit after the election claiming all the undecided votes. He can claim it was the haters that voted undecided. Chew on the above Midnight Matthews.

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Posted by Jim Bean on 09/26/2007 at 6:13 PM

Berje, where are the demographic crosstabs on the horse race itself?

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Posted by Winter Mute on 09/26/2007 at 7:42 PM

Wintermute...I was looking for the same thing. It would be very interesting to see how each candidate is doing among the various demographic groups.

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Posted by James Stubbs on 09/26/2007 at 7:59 PM

Count me in the 18% of the undecided. The only thing I know for sure is I will not be voting for Willie. I don't see any difference in Morris or Chumney.

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Posted by Billl Smith on 09/26/2007 at 8:53 PM

Not so fast, you demographic-crosstab hounds. It may be that these were inadvertently omitted through no fault of Berge's. Let us research the matter, and, if this is the case (as I suspect it is), the misssing crosstabs will be added.

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Posted by JB on 09/26/2007 at 9:07 PM

I wonder about likely voters in this particular election. I find myself voting as well as others this year who skipped elections in the past because the polls were so one sided. Will more anti-willie voters show up on this one and did this poll cover this "anti-willie" factor.

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Posted by LucyK on 09/26/2007 at 10:23 PM

Wonder if there are any concerned citizens (like a band of conservatives, males, well off and educated)who could go to Willingham and get that lunatic to drop out. Similar to the Draft AC campaign that was woefully misguided and only made Willie look victimized (at every turn). Dear God help us all. I'll just drop by Uhaul and make my reservation for October 5th to pull outta here if he wins again. Go Carol, Go Herman, Willie - you just go...away.

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Posted by Jett Richards on 09/27/2007 at 11:27 AM

Vote with your feet. Leave Memphis.

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Posted by marie on 09/27/2007 at 3:07 PM

Jackson, Jackson, Jackson. You've been told, yet you still persist. If only two points separate Herenton and Chumney, and the margin of error is 4.8%, then the race is a dead heat, not a narrow lead! That's it. I'm getting you a book on statistics as a Christmas present. >-(

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Posted by mike hollihan on 09/28/2007 at 1:19 AM

The Commercial Appeal (Who endorsed Morris) will release their own poll showing Herenton pulling away, Morris climbing to the top and Chumney sliding.

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Posted by Charles Bolden on 09/29/2007 at 8:19 PM

In other words, Mikey, just ignore those teeny-weeny one- and two-point leads? Tell that to President Gore! I believe that situation was a "statistical dead heat," too. (And never mind who was actually ahead. The point is, when you get down to it, there ARE no "dead heats." The shades are important.) What do I want for Christmas? Hmmmmm. Start your blog back up.

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Posted by JB on 09/29/2007 at 9:33 PM

Carol for Mayor: Every poll has shown Carol to be sliding. The Yaboubian Poll showed her losing 5%. The CA poll today showed her losing 5% since July and 13% since April. Why is Carol losing so much support?

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Posted by James Stubbs on 09/30/2007 at 11:03 AM

Thanks Yacoubian, The Chumney campaing made a terrible blunder using your numbers in that "neck and neck with Herenton" TV ad based on your polling numbers. After the CA poll, I bet that'll be all we see of that nifty little graphic. Morris should thank you for all the energy it has supplied the campaign!

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Posted by ray@memphiswebtech.com on 09/30/2007 at 10:35 PM

Contemporary Media should to file a The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notice to the Chumny campaing's myspace account for publishing copyrighted material pertaining to this article. And who is the lawyer here? http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=246988943&blogID=314210131

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Posted by ray@memphiswebtech.com on 10/01/2007 at 12:30 AM

JB, an election is one thing. You only need win by one vote there. It's the definitve poll, with 100% participation. But polls are slippery things, inherently uncertain. About the only things you can say, poll-wise, about the mayoral election is that Herenton's lead has been constantly eroding as the election nears and more folks fall out of the "undecided" column; Chumney seems to have peaked somewhere last spring; Morris has been slowly (oh so slowly!) rising in support. It's worth noting that Yacoubian twice found that Morris was every voter's second choice as a candidate. If Chumney's campaign continues to slide, that's good for Morris. If folks who would like to support Herenton have second thoughts, that's good for Morris. If the atmosphere of "fear at a 5th Herenton term" continues, that too might sway a few voters to Morris. So, in those regards it's all good. But I still wouldn't want to pick a winner right now. Too many uncertainties. And a Herenton win is still very much on the table.

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Posted by mike hollihan on 10/01/2007 at 11:29 AM
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