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 provides some clue as to what the portents are.
Berje Yacoubian, whose 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, 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 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 Willingham's 1 percent.
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, 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, as 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 percent for Chumney, 7 percent for Willingham, and only 5 percent for Herenton.
An additional poll question asked voters for their attitude toward amending the city charter to mandate a two-term (eight-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 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 aged 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