Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Don't Believe The Hype

I'm not surprised the Commercial Appeal would print this article, after the editors commentary last week. Obviously "Otis Sanford" is supporting someone other than "Willie Herenton" for Mayor of Memphis. He may have more of a challenge than he ever has before, but mainly because in the past he hasn't had any competition. I don't put much stock in polls anyway. You can make a poll say anything you want. Even the poll in question was made up of likely Memphis voters. I think what the poll shows is that the same thirty five or forty thousand voters that tried to recall him. Still haven't given up yet. There is this same group of people that are largely White non-residents. Who think they have a formidable candidate, and they're trying to create a buzz. It's a passion for some. That want to remove the Mayor from office.

It's amazing what they claim the Mayor is responsible for. The top reasons voters gave for why the mayor shouldn't be re-elected: job performance, length of time in office, morals or character and priorities on the issues. None of which hold up under closer examination. Those are generic answers.


Blogger Common said...

Chumney early leader for mayor Wharton polls well
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Early election poll
Who would you vote for?
Previous Coverage
Herenton 'vulnerable' Mayor's core support erodes
Poll Question: Should Mayor Willie Herenton be re-elected?
Latest Marks for Willie Herenton

Herenton, with four terms, is 12 points back among likely candidates
By Jacinthia Jones
April 9, 2007
It's six months before the Memphis mayoral election but a poll conducted by The Commercial Appeal suggests Mayor Willie Herenton has a real fight on his hands.
City Councilwoman Carol Chumney, one of the mayor's most outspoken critics, is a serious challenger, according to poll results.

In a match-up between Herenton, Chumney, former Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division chief Herman Morris and former County Commissioner John Willingham -- all of whom have said they are running for mayor -- nearly a third of those polled chose Chumney, the highest response for any of the candidates.
After Chumney's 32 percent support, Herenton received 20 percent, followed by Morris with 16 percent. Willingham lagged with 3 percent.

"One reason (Chumney's) showing so strong is that she's stood up to Herenton," said pollster Steven Ethridge, president and chief manager of Ethridge & Associates LLC, which polled 500 likely city voters for the newspaper. "She's earned equity for that."

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton has been lobbied by some groups to challenge Herenton but has said he has no plans to do so. But the poll shows the popular county mayor would dramatically change the race.

When Wharton is thrown into the mix, 31 percent of respondents back him. Chumney's support drops to 20 percent and Herenton trails with 12 percent.

"Overall, it appears the voters may be about to shut the lights out on Willie Herenton as mayor in favor of a new dawn rising," Ethridge said.

In the end, Herenton's biggest hurdle may turn out to be himself.

Voter impressions of the four-term mayor are at their lowest ever. Two in three said Herenton shouldn't be elected and criticized his job performance, his time in office and his morals and character.

Only 17 percent had a "very favorable" opinion of Herenton. That compares to 56 percent of respondents who said they had a "very favorable" opinion of Wharton. On the other end of the spectrum, only 1 percent had a "very unfavorable" opinion of Wharton, while 40 percent felt that way about Herenton.

"I'm tired of the way he's screwed up the city, the police. ... Everything he touches he screws up," said Deborah Perkins, a 47-year-old resident of Raleigh who participated in the poll.

The poll results don't bode well for the mayor's re-election efforts, said Marcus Pohlmann, a political science professor at Rhodes College.

"On the other hand, 30 percent (for Chumney) is not a roaring endorsement either," Pohlmann said. "It's easy to be against an incumbent because they have a record. The campaign hasn't begun and people haven't had a chance to hear and disagree with his opponents."

Indeed, candidates for mayor can't even pick up a petition to run until April 20, and then they have until July 19 to qualify for the race.

But Herenton has never polled so low before. Aside from his historic 172-vote victory over Dick Hackett in 1991, Herenton has had virtual cakewalks to City Hall.

Pohlmann said Herenton still has the time and the ability to regain lost ground by Oct. 4, adding that the mayor has more than $500,000 in his campaign war chest.

"I wouldn't underestimate his ability to address concerns that people have about the city ... especially before he spends half a million dollars trying to convince people and explain his positions."

Herenton was still the most popular choice of the announced candidates among black voters, with 33 percent of them saying they'd re-elect the mayor if elections were held today. But another 14 percent said they would vote for Morris and 12 percent favored Chumney.

When Wharton is added, he garners 32 percent of the support of the likely black voters and Herenton's support falls to 20 percent. The numbers for Morris and Chumney are cut in half.

Among white voters, Chumney was the top pick of announced candidates, with 60 percent of respondents saying they would vote for her. Morris garnered 18 percent of the white voter support, Willingham received 3 percent and Herenton got 2 percent.

Wharton significantly draws voters away from the other candidates when added. Chumney's support from white voters drops to 39 percent, while Wharton earns 30 percent. Herenton bottoms out, with 0 percent of the white vote.

Based on the polling numbers, both Chumney, who is white, and Morris, who is black, have a high ability to get crossover support from voters of other races, Ethridge said. Voters of both races had favorable opinions of the two. Wharton's crossover numbers, however, are better than anyone's.

Chumney said she was "excited" by the poll numbers. She said she believes people have heard her message of "budget cuts before tax hikes and more efficiency and accountability in government.

"I've tried to push for openness and to stand up against power and privilege."

That's the message that has resonated with Perkins, the Raleigh poll participant who's ready for Herenton to go.

"She's honest, she speaks her mind and she's not afraid to stand up against anybody," saidPerkins, who is white.

Wharton said that while it's "no secret" that he's been approached by Memphis business leaders about running for city mayor, nothing has changed since his first public comments on the matter last month: He will not run as long as Herenton is in the race.

"I just have not spent a lot of time contemplating that simply because he said he was going to run, and I accept that," said Wharton, who was Herenton's campaign chairman for the last two elections.

Herenton declined to be interviewed for this story.

Roger Grant said she supported Herenton in the past, but believes his time is up.

"I'm one of those who leans toward term limits," said Grant, a 62-year-old black woman in Orange Mound. "I just think that when you stay in there long enough, you have a tendency to get into corruption and everything else."

Still she says she's "not wild" about any of the other candidates either, although she's leaning toward Morris.

Many of the poll results mirror those found in two separate polls commissioned by local businessmen in the last several weeks -- also conducted by Ethridge.

Karl Schledwitz, chairman of Southland Companies and Monogram Food Solutions and active in Democratic politics, said he and others commissioned a poll three weeks ago "to help gauge the mood of the city and the attitudes of the citizens."

"While personally I think there are a lot of good things going on in Memphis, it is a basic rule in politics that perception can become reality. And regardless of who the next mayor is, it is imperative that we change the perception."

Longtime Democrat and civil rights attorney Richard Fields commissioned the other poll in February and shared the results with Herenton.

"I think the mayor should be concerned," said Fields, adding that he always has supported Herenton. "I think he should take some very strong measures to counter the negative perception by the public."

11:15 PM  
Blogger bishop said...


Very good article. I didn't put much hype into the commercial appeal either. Otis Sanford is a sell out to me anyway. It is very easy when you have surveyed 100 white people. Mayor Herenton will be back in becaus ehis track record ha sproven itself. WHat has Carol Chumney done besides run her mouth? Hermon Morris was a flunky to Herenton and all of sudden he wants to run. He couldn't run MLGW. Wendy Thomas is a flunky as well an dhas no respect for authority.

9:50 AM  
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