Polls are funny things. They're a lot like abstract art or Bob Dylan's lyrics — open to interpretation. The latest local poll on the 9th District congressional race between former Mayor Willie Herenton and Representative Steve Cohen shows Cohen with what appears to be an insurmountable lead. Cohen presumably likes this poll. Herenton doesn't put much stock in it. And as we all know, the only poll that counts is the real poll — on Election Day, August 5th. (Jackson Baker has more about that on page 18.)
There's a new Gallup poll out that ranks the current GOP presidential candidates for 2012 via a survey of Republicans nationwide. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin tops all the others in recognition and favorability rankings. In fact, 76 percent of Republicans surveyed have a favorable impression of Palin, putting her well ahead of Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Bobby Jindal.
Palin is the candidate most identified with the Tea Party movement and is the candidate most likely to bring out those voters for the GOP. This is bad news for the others when primary season rolls around. Palin will have a core constituency, and in contests where there are two or more candidates and only a plurality is necessary to win a state's delegates, this is a distinct advantage.
But it's only a poll, and 2012 is a long way off. Thankfully.
Speaking of polls, lots of Memphians are voting in another poll this week. It was started in 1994, and it's been conducted every year since: the Flyer's Best of Memphis contest. This year, we've changed the name to "The Real Best of Memphis," because a certain local daily paper (let's call them The Milli Vanilli Appeal) has been trying to nab our franchise over the past couple of years. It's the "Most" they could do.
But there are significant differences between the two contests. In our poll, for example, you can only vote once — which means no ballot stuffing. Our poll is run by the editorial department. Theirs is run by the marketing department. The Flyer's poll has tradition and credibility, not to mention a kick-arse party every September. In short, it's the real deal. So accept no substitutes. To make your vote count, go to memphisflyer.com and start clicking. It's good practice for August 5th.