November 18, 2022 7:00am

It's dressing, pecan pie and Vols to the playoffs

Power Poll members said federal elections more impactful

Photo of Chris Vass
Chattanooga, TN Correspondent
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When settling into dining room chairs next week to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, most Power Pollers will be asking to “please pass the dressing” and save some room for pecan pie, according to a light-hearted survey this month. They also are high on the Vols' chances to make the College Football Playoff.

Almost three-fourths of survey respondents said they call the popular Thanksgiving side dish “dressing” rather than stuffing. That result might reflect where our Power Poll members hail from: If you are from the North, that dish is most commonly called “stuffing.” From the South? Well, bake that cornbread and call it dressing.

On the dessert front, wow. Pecan pie was preferred by half of respondents, while a third said they like pumpkin. And 17% said neither pie would make their short list of T-Day must-haves. Maybe chocolate pie or banana pudding?

The meal can't last forever. To fight the tryptophan coma, 40% of Power Poll respondents said they like to get some fresh air and take a walk while another 36% preferred to watch others get physical: They preferred to catch up on all of the pro football action. Seventeen percent said they would take a snooze and just 7% are interested in pre-Black Friday shopping.

The Power Poll membership must have orange in their veins and loads of optimism heading into the final weeks of the football season. A significant 70% of survey respondents indicated they think the Big Orange will make the College Football Playoff. Yep, there are paths for the Vols to get there, some more chaotic than others, but hey, that's what we watch for, right? Lots of things have to happen, and Tennessee needs to do its part (rack up massive style points, for one) but we can cheer them on and place our bets. On the other side, 21% of area Power Pollers said 2022 won't be the year for the Vols; and just at 9% were dismissive.

Onto a more serious query, coming off the federal election (we only have one more election to go: the runoff between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia. The significance of that match-up has diminished greatly), we wanted to know which set of outcomes packed more punch for the Power Poll membership: the August Hamilton County general election or the November general election.

A little more than half — 54% — said the federal elections would be more important while 46% said the state outcomes would be more important.

Regardless of the Georgia runoff outcome, we will have divided government in January. That complicates (some would say halt) President Joe Biden's legislative agenda. And with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing she won't run for a leadership post and Rep. Kevin McCarthy's leadership challenges on the other side, it sure looks like the word "impasse" will be used a lot. And that could mean states could be where the legislative action really will take place, as FiveThirtyEight has forecasted.
So we voters chose divided government at the national level, and for better or worse, that's what we will have for the next two years.

Still, Steve Highlander, a Hamilton County Board of Education member, wrote that he is thankful "for living in a free country where citizens have the honor and privilege of choosing their leaders."

Jaime Kerns, co-founder of the nonprofit Culture Chatt, didn't disagree, but pointed out that all is not well in Tennessee.

"Yes, we as American-born middle-class, educated (non-incarcerated) individuals are very privileged to exercise our rights," she wrote. "It is, however, much more difficult to feel privileged within very gerrymandered lines in TN that intentionally seek to break apart communities that hold most of our (historically) disadvantaged groups."

Juvenile Court Clerk Gary Behler summed up the season well:

"Happy Thanksgiving to all! This is always one of my favorite holidays. Please slow down and enjoy your time with family, friends and loved ones. And do take time to offer thanks for your many blessings."

Contact Chris Vass, public editor of the Times Free Press, at or

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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