Tennessee Power Poll: Biden Will Assume Office
Also: We want more mail-in voting; and social media is not good for democracy
President-elect Joe Biden, Tennessee Power Poll members believe, will assume the most powerful office in the world right on time.
Another way of looking at that is to say, Donald Trump will not be our next president.
That must come as a relief to the vast majority of Power Poll members—nearly 80%—who said they considered this election the most anxiety-producing presidential race of their lifetimes.
Meanwhile, more news nuggets in this month’s survey:
Most respondents think Trump is whom we should blame for the high levels of “partisan rancor” infecting the nation. Not far behind in the blame game are “social media platforms and fringe media.”
Protect Your Family’s Health as COVID-19 Cases Rise in Tennessee
By Dr. Andrea Willis
Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Clinical study results released in the past week show that scientists are making progress toward a COVID-19 vaccine. More people are being tested daily, and testing centers across the nation are increasingly efficient. But the fact of the matter is that cases are on the rise in several parts of the U.S. — including Tennessee.
As of Nov. 16, the Tennessee Department of Health says that the number of active cases has increased 61 percent in the past two weeks, with 43,101 individuals now infected. And as we enter the winter months, we expect to see cases continue to rise due to cooling temperatures and the need for more indoor activities. (The risk of transmitting the virus increases in close quarters.)
These factors show that now more than ever, it’s important to practice the safety measures recommended by public health experts. This is especially important as we enter the holiday season, where family gatherings are a tradition.
I understand that it’s easy to be frustrated and want to push back against these safety guidelines as “the new normal.” None of us enjoy seeing loved ones from afar, or having muffled conversations through face masks. We don’t like to think about spending a holiday season confined to our homes.
However, we must remain vigilant to protect the health of our loved ones and ourselves. Remember, it’s possible to spread COVID-19 before you have symptoms, so one person with the virus can infect many others if they aren’t following proper safety measures.
There are four best practices we should all continue to follow. No one of these is a magic wand we can wave that provides guaranteed protection — rather they work together, and when taken as a whole, they provide the greatest protection for us all.
1. Practice social distancing.
Even though the colder weather will confine many of us indoors, you should avoid closed spaces outside of your home. If you must leave your home, choose locations that are conducive to maintaining an appropriate distance from others. If you are at the grocery store, the post office, your doctor’s office, using mass transit, etc., look for arrows or markers along the floor or walls that indicate where you should stand to avoid close contact.
2. Wear a cloth face mask in public.
The CDC recommends almost everyone wear a cloth face covering to help slow the spread of the virus, with a few exceptions:
- children under age 2
- people who have trouble breathing
- people who are incapacitated and unable to remove a mask
Face masks work to block the respiratory droplets that carry the virus. Some studies show cloth masks can reduce transmission by 50-75%. And since people can spread the virus before they know they have it, wearing a mask can help limit the impact of COVID-19.
3. Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds and continue to disinfect frequently used surfaces.
In addition, carry hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol in case soap and water are unavailable. Fortunately, the nationwide hand sanitizer shortages we saw early on during the pandemic are no longer an issue.
4. Follow local guidance – limit interactions with people you don’t live with, especially in large groups.
Some people may have the virus and show no symptoms. That’s why the more people you are around, and the longer you spend with them, the higher your risk of contracting COVID-19. As much as it pains us to spend a Thanksgiving without extended family, this year may be best spent with phone calls to loved ones, especially to seniors who are most at risk of catching the virus.
The flu factor
The rise in Tennessee COVID cases coincides with the annual influenza season.
We don’t yet know what dual flu/COVID-19 diagnosis will look like in the short and long term. That’s why everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot as soon as possible.
Vaccines have been proven safe and effective for decades, and most individuals who receive the flu vaccine either avoid contracting the virus or have a milder case if they do. Studies have shown a flu shot can reduce the likelihood of catching the flu by 40-60%.
The flu shot is covered under most health plans at no cost to you.
Remember, if you’re experiencing symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell, stay home and separate yourself from others. Next, call your provider’s office or local health department and tell them your symptoms.
Whether from the flu or rising COVID-19 cases, we can expect to see hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health resources stretched thin during the next few months as they struggle to treat everyone.
Fortunately, many doctor’s visits can now be done virtually, and BlueCross encourages telehealth for our members as much as possible. If your doctor thinks you need to be tested or visit them in person, they will give you instructions for where to go and what to do.
By taking all of these steps as communities, we can help our state and nation heal, our local businesses stay open, and once more hold our loved ones close. But we all must be committed to the cause.
Related resources from BlueCross:
Finally, if you think we need to open up mail-in voting in Tennessee so that all registered voters can vote by mail, you’re not alone. Nearly three in four Power Poll members want that to happen.
Here are the specific questions and answers to the most recent Tennessee statewide Power Poll. Use the city dropdown to select one of our markets or all of their combined results.
DISCLAIMER ALERT: Power Poll is not a scientific survey. But even the scientific surveys seem to be a little off these days. Power Poll is in the business of asking relevant local and statewide questions of prominent, powerful, influential people. It then publishes the results, to the endless fascination of both Power Poll members and news consumers in general.
Statewide, a total of 3,617 surveys were sent to Power Poll members in Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and members in the state’s less populated counties. 789 people responded, for a response rate of 21.81%.
In Knoxville, 164 individuals responded to the survey, out of 792 surveyed, for a response rate of 20.71%.
This presidential election is such an outlier in American history. The apparently defeated candidate has not conceded. A pandemic was, and is, raging. The election was conducted significantly by mail, which tested the resilience and strength of the voting process. (Apparently, it works.) Turnout was higher than it has ever been. When you throw in the fact that the incumbent was at the same time one of the most adored and loathed political figures in American history, you’ve got an election for the ages.
Anxiety? Damn right. At times, the system appeared to teeter and wobble and blow smoke from the engine, but democracy has held intact. I feel your anxiety. This is not something we wish to repeat.
Overwhemingly, Power Poll members feel a transition of power will take place and Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. will recite the oath of office. It is comforting to know that Power Poll members, who comprise the leadership structure of at least one state out of 50, are confident that Trump will leave because the other guy got more votes and all will go as it has since John Adams gave way to Thomas Jefferson.
Meanwhile, as to the mechanics of this election, it is clear that Power Poll members appreciate mail-in voting and advocate its use. In Tennessee, members are saying they want it to be expanded, made fully operational and widespread. It’s not even close: over two-thirds want all registered voters to be able to vote absentee or with mail-in ballots.
Finally, as we discuss the causes of our partisan rancor, the division, enmity, inability to arrive at consensus or common understandings about the reality of the world we live in….
One word: Trump. Most people feel Trump is to blame. We all know he states and repeats a narrative, often untrue, until many of us come to agree with it. That we agree with it is the problem. Some agree with his reality because they don’t want to earn his wrath by disagreeing with him. Others, however, just come around to believing in him. Deeply. Totally. Fanatically.
Which is why I’m so heartened to hear that there’s fairly solid consensus that aside from Trump, we should be blaming media—specifically, the social network platforms and fake websites and fringe media that have convinced a good portion of America of a reality that doesn’t exist. I’m talking about how the Mafia threw Pennsylvania for Biden, and how Democrats are abducting children and running a Satanic pedophile ring, and how George Soros paid for the creation of COVID in a lab he happens to own in Wuhan so that it would spread to the U.S. and disrupt the presidential race and result in the election of a Democrat.
Good and decent people, many sober, have come to believe in such fictions. Deeply troubling is the fact that these platforms, which serve as launching pads for anyone to say anything at any time with little or no incentive to tell the truth, have also destroyed the side of media that was at one point in time reasonably committed to telling the truth—that being the newspaper industry. Not only did Mark Zuckerberg take America’s mind and warp it; he also stole the ads that supported the truthtellers who were trying to keep everything straight.
I do not know, if you’re in Mark Zuckerberg’s shoes, how you keep fact straight from fiction. And given the wide lane granted to the Facebooks of the world by the First Amendment, I see only one solution to the social media train wreck—that we all turn them off.
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.