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Polls conducted by the Vanderbilt University Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and published by the Tennessean this morning would seem to indicate it is. Romney leads with just 42% of 1,508 registered voters over Obama’s 39%. Interestingly, 10% say they would just stay home and not vote. Six percent were undecided. Santorum does little better with 42% to 38%. Again 10% would stay home. Ron Paul leads 40 to 39, but more on that later.

In 2008, McCain carried the state with 57.6% of the vote after some polls earlier in the year had indicated a much closer election. So, I have doubts as to Obama’s chances of stealing our 11 electoral votes from the Republicans, but the poll does seem to offer some encouraging news:

Republican Apathy - There apparently is a good deal of apathy on the Republican side. I have no previous polls to compare the 10% who will ‘stay home’, but I suspect it comes from largely Republican votes. I would hope this reveals a similar apathy factor nationwide.

Down ballot impact – Hopefully, again, a stronger Obama showing will restrict further Republican gains in local races. I don’t expect to reverse the recent trend, but hopefully we can stop it from getting worse.

Democratic energy – I believe Obama was elected through the participation and energy of a lot of people new to the political system; young people who are telling the adults to ‘get over it’ and elect a minority or woman. I hope this group does not drift to Ron Paul if he runs on a third party ticket. Many young former Obama supporters I know are leaning towards Paul as they are fed up with us adults screwing up their futures with a wrecked economy and multiple wars. We need to keep them in the Democratic camp and utilize that energy to change for change on local levels.

Force Republicans to spend money – I think a marginal amount of campaign money spent in Tennessee would require a disproportionate amount of spending by the Republicans to keep Tennessee as a firewall state.

Can Obama to carry Tennessee? Hopefully, but not likely.

Originally posted to Mid10Dem on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:11 AM PST.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Highly rec'd for your understanding of (14+ / 0-)

    the key points: turnout impact on downballot races and making the GOP fight (i.e. spend).

    Great and surprising news. Thanks.

    Corporations are people, my friend Yeah, well, so's Soylent Green, so I don't find that very comforting. New video: "Undertaker"

    by Crashing Vor on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:18:43 AM PST

  •  10% apathetic?...Good Grief.....after all this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MoDem, Mid10Dem, hazey

    demonization?......Rove got his work cut out for him.

  •  In play (11+ / 0-)

    I live in Missouri.  Last night, I was talking to a reporter in the area I lived about the possibility of beating Missouri's Bachmann (Vicky Hartzler is just like Bachmann only Hartzler lacks Bachmann's IQ.).  There is a good candidate, Teresa Hensley.  He thinks it is doable.

    It would be stupid for the Obama campaign not to put resources into Missouri.

    The Republican will HAVE TO WIN Missouri to be elected.  If the Obama campaign puts resources into Missouri, it will force the GOP  to spend money in a place they shouldn't have to.

    And, to keep control of the Senate McCaskill will have to win.  The GOP statewide ticket will be at least as week as their nominee.  There could be big turn out problem for the GOP here and we could pick up down ticket races.

    If the Republicans are worried about Tennessee and have to put money there, we could see another big wave.  

    Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

    by MoDem on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 08:23:50 AM PST

  •  Tn is not in play (5+ / 0-)

    Its like those poll in NJ that always show it in play and it never is. I agree about Missouri, GOP needs that to win it and Obama should spend just to help Mccaskill, .
    Obama could possibly win the state if it's another 1964

  •  Sounds in play to me (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def, Sylv, sebastianguy99, hazey, JanL

    Conventional wisdom says that after McCain actually outdid Bush's margin in Tennessee, it should be an automatic 11 votes in the Repubs' bank account.  But if it's this close now, especially considering that we can make things close by running it up in Nashville and Memphis, it's worth the effort.

    I'm hoping this poll is true.  Every penny the Repubs have to spend in Nashville (the 29th market) is one less that they can spend in Charlotte, the Triangle and the Triad.

  •  Gore couldn't win TN (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, hazey, nieman

    Has there been that much change in TN politics in the past dozen years to suggest that Obama might?

    If Obama were to come even close, I'd expect some SuperPAC to run some ad with jungle drums and a blonde woman saying "Mr. President, call me."

  •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

    Has there been that much change in TN politics in the past dozen years to suggest that Obama might?

    If Obama were to come even close, I'd expect some SuperPAC to run some ad with jungle drums and a blonde woman saying "Mr. President, call me."

  •  TN won't be contested, even if Obama has a chance (0+ / 0-)

    to win there.

    Neither side will have the resources to spend on a "landslide only" scenario state.

    If R-Money has to spend money there in 2012, he's already cooked.  

    Same deal with what McCain did re: Indiana.  States like that won't decide the election.

    I guess Obama could win possibly, but I would bet he loses by 15+%.  White people from TN won't vote for the Kenyan Usurper.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 09:14:27 AM PST

    •  You are wrong, he got 34% of the white vote (0+ / 0-)

      That would be more than enough to take Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas.

      He got a higher percentage of the white vote in Tennessee than he did in surrounding states. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the state and are relying on a DK stereotype of southern whites?

      "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

      by sebastianguy99 on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 01:21:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  50-State Strategy (7+ / 0-)

    If Team Obama really wants to win 2012, and really wants to stick it to the Republican Party and their adherents, he should put as much effort into as many states as possible, even red states like TN.

    Should they commit a ton of resources to TN or OK or KS? No, probably not. But any chance to make any inroads, especially in those crucial downballot House races...

    Any and all dissatisfaction with the eventual GOP nominee has got to be exploited. If it can be exploited in a place like Tennessee? All the better. Rub as much salt in the wound as possible. Make them fight to carry what should have been easy states.

    I am really hoping for an '84-style landslide victory, because I kinda think that's what it's gonna take to get anything done in this Congress.

    Republicanism/Conservatism has got to be repudiated as hard as possible. If this helps do it, all the better for our country.

    •  As I recall some traditionally "impossible" Reds (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv, wdrath, sebastianguy99, JanL

      ...went Blue in '08, presumably due to intensive grassroots organizing, to turn out the "usual non-voters", the largest, mostly untapped, latent electoral pool...demographics for which tend strongly Democratic.

      While the established Party apparatus, both national and local, may balk at "wasting" resources on such campaigns, resolute grassroots determination around viable candidates can overcome such handicaps, to bring a progressive challenge, and even win, where nobody thought it was possible.

      It "just" requires a truly massive electoral uprising, to overcome the resistance from Blue Dogs, and to overwhelm the point-shaving voter suppression dirty tricks of the Republicans, to swamp the polls, whether the Party helps us "enough", likes it, or wants it or not.

      Even if not entirely successful in every instance, such challenges can serve to nudge other candidates and discussion to the left, at the very least.

      Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

      by Radical def on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 10:33:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correct although (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sebastianguy99, Radical def

        I'd say GA and SC are better uses of resources

        •  I suppose if prospects seem too bleak, locally... (0+ / 0-)

          ...the next step might be to look further afield to neighboring districts...or, whatever.

          Just saying, no telling what you can accomplish, unless you try...which I"m sure many have, but conditions change.

          Limited resources, especially on the grassroots side, can only be overcome by more people, working harder, heh.  

          Not fair, but, oh well.  

          If some activists were putting half as much energy into optimizing the Democratic primaries as they are putting into Occupy, to at least incorporate the need for electoral struggle, as the only material resolution to the contradictions being raised...

          Limited resources on state, regional and national levels, as to whether it's a matter of actual availability and priorities, or Blue Dog obstructionism, seems to be an issue, sometimes, in bringing forward more progressive candidates, don't you think?

          Once the primaries are over, we're stuck with whoever we've got, going into November.  

          Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

          by Radical def on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 02:13:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Paul's not running in November (0+ / 0-)

    All signs point to the Paul family playing a long game aimed at power within the Republican party.
    As to the young Tennesseeans who seem to prefer Ron Paul to the President, they have their reasons. I hope the President will announce a speeded up withdrawal from Afghanistan before November.  That would help widen the enthusiasm gap, in favor of the President.

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