On Monday, the pollster Peter Brodnitz released the results of a carefully calibrated poll taken on behalf of state Senator Jim Kyle of Memphis, a Democratic canedidate for governor, during the first week of November.
In some ways, the Kyle poll showed the same results as one released earlier by Democratic rival Mike McWherter, a Jackson businessman and son of former Governor Ned McWherter.
In the new poll, as in the earlier one, McWherter led all Democratioc comers — both in a “cold” poll and in a subsequent “informed” one in which brief information about each candidate was added in. (Cold: McWherter, 22 percent; Kyle, 5; former state Representative Kim McMillan of Clarksville, 4; state Senator Roy Herron, 3; Nashville businessman Ward Cammack, 1. vs. Informed: McWherter, 27; Kyle, 10: McMillan, 8; Herron, 4; Cammack, 3)
As in the McWherter poll, Kyle gained more than other candidates in the informed round.
In a conference call with Tennessee reporters, Brodnitz illumined some other silver linings — for example, that Kyle actually led McWherter in the Memphis area (38 percent to 22 percent), which will account for something like 23 percent of the Democratic primary vote. Kyle’s home-base strength plus the large number of undecideds (65 percent in the cold poll, 48 percent in the informed ballot) are posited as reliable long-term strengths.
The two chief surprises in the Brodnitz poll are the less-than-expected showing of Herron, who boasted a string of “straw-vote”victories before changing races last week to run for the suddenly open 8th District congressional seat, and the greater-than-expected strength of McMillan, whom Brodnitz judged to be a serious ongoing player.
Brodnitz characterized McWherter’s strengtrh as essentially consisting of small rural counties, though he acknowledged that McWherter at present has a lead everywhere except Shelby County.