Nashville Power Poll: Electoral College Should Go Away

August 21, 2020 11:00am
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Nashville, TN Correspondent

Also: Mail-in voting can be trusted; but Russians will meddle

It’s election season. And Power Poll has put out its feelers.

We surveyed statewide this time around. For you Nashville Power Poll members, here are the conclusions we can draw from your responses:

• Nashville Power Poll members favor elimination of the Electoral College and electing presidents instead by national popular vote.

• Nashville members “strongly trust” mail-in voting.

• Nashville members expect Russia will interfere in the upcoming presidential election but think we are better prepared this time around. To that end, Russia’s efforts will have no effect.

• And as to the future of our numerically challenged Tennessee Democratic Party, members were all over the map in predicting when the party will be competitive statewide. But most predicted in five to ten years.

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The responses from the Nashville Power Poll members, when compared to Power Poll members statewide, were very similar. Here are the specific questions and responses.

 

A total of 633 Nashvillians were surveyed, with 388 responding, for a response rate of 61.30%. Statewide, a total of 2,874 Tennessee Power Poll members were surveyed, with 789 responding, for a response rate of 27.45%. Disclaimer: The Power Poll is not a scientific poll. It is, however, a direct pipeline into the thoughts, insights, beliefs and opinions of important Nashvillians and Tennesseans of all political stripes. Power Poll is non-partisan. Our members are people who make things happen.

SIDENOTE: WE HAVE TAKEN A TOTAL OF 28 POWER POLL SURVEYS. AND WE HAVE AFFIXED GOLD STARS NEXT TO THE NAMES OF THE 25 MEMBERS WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN EVERY SINGLE SURVEY. NOW THAT IS COMMITMENT. CLICK HERE TO SEE THEM AND OTHER MEMBERS IN THE 80-100% PARTICIPATION RANGE.

Context

The upcoming state and national general election, to be held Nov. 3, is headlined by the presidential race. It’s Trump versus Biden, as we all know all too well, and we will leave further commentary in that race to our vast media/technology ecosystem that is in full output mode.

Tennessee also has a race to succeed Lamar Alexander, with the heavily favored Nashville businessman Bill Hagerty lining up against a poorly funded political neophyte from Memphis named Marquita Bradshaw. The latter’s primary victory came as a shock to political insiders, because state and national establishment Democrats were supporting her better funded white opponent who had been seeking the nomination for quite some time. But the African-American Bradshaw demolished that opponent, in as sure a sign as any that as we reckon with street protests, the George Floyd killing, and equity issues in policing and sentencing, black turnout was high in our recent primary and will likely be high in the general. Bradshaw will likely lose, but if the black vote turns out as it did in the primary, this may show that the Democratic Party’s most important constituency is energized, spelling problems for Republicans nationally.

Also on the ballot in Tennessee, and closer to the ground, are a handful of hotly contested races at the state legislative level. Broadly speaking, state Democrats are hoping to increase their legislative count in urban markets (Hamilton, Davidson, Shelby, and Knox). They also hope to show higher turnout in places like Rutherford County. Statewide Democratic turnout has been slowly but steadily climbing in recent elections and Democrats hope that trend curve keeps tracking up. If you are running the Republican Party, you probably recognize that you may drop a few seats this election, but that will be just a dent in your 18-wheeler. The Republican hold on the state is considerable. As noted in our survey, Power Poll members predict Democrats could be in a position of strength in five to ten years. Until then, it’s a slog.

Most voters are fixated on the presidential race, with Trump sitting atop the Republican ticket, COVID not under control, and the economy in what seems a Depression. COVID is such an all-encompassing electoral factor—for instance, it even alters our behavior in terms of HOW we vote. Nobody wants to walk into a crowded precinct and catch the virus. To that end, Power Poll members in this survey feel as if mail-in ballots are to be trusted and will not be rigged in favor of one candidate or another. Who would have thought that for the price of a postal stamp we can guarantee democracy?

Finally, Vladimir Putin is almost certainly cooking up some crafty pre-election messaging campaigns to be published in our porous social networks. With American voters digitally dialed into a world with few editorial gatekeepers, anything goes. If the Russians do a repeat of 2016, it’ll be ugly. While Power Poll members feel Russia will be up to no good in this election cycle, they also feel like we’ve made progress combatting their efforts and Russia will have “no effect” on the outcome. Please let it be so.

Political consultants well understand that elections can turn on a dime. Our presidential election, while seemingly close, is in fact a lifetime away. Much can change. Read the polls, including this one, with skepticism. And go vote.

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