November 17, 2023 10:00am

How You Feeling Nashville?

Not Bad, it Would Appear

Photo of Bruce Dobie
Nashville, TN Correspondent

We wanted to depart from traditional Power Poll programming this month and ask a different style of question. Typically, Power Poll asks about the most hot-button issues in a city: political races, legislative tussles, the prevailing hard news. This month, we dove into what experts refer to as “sentiment analysis.”

Ergo: How you feeling?

These sentiment analysis questions asked members to rank their levels of happiness, anxiety, political confidence and economic security.

That wasn’t all we asked. We also sold a sponsored poll question to an entity that wanted to poll our Nashville members on the brewing race for Congress in the Seventh Congressional District. Former Nashville mayor Megan Barry is said to be leaning towards challenging incumbent Republican Mark Green for that seat.

Here are the specific questions and answers in our survey this month as voted on by 863 Nashville Power Poll members:

CONTEXT 1: Sentiment Analysis

What we intend to do over time is ask these identical sentiment analysis questions in other markets. We can track the responses over time. (Is Nashville less or more happy than it was six months ago, for instance.) And we can also compare Nashville’s happiness to other cities in which Power Poll operates.

By itself, the results don’t necessarily signify anything remarkable because we don’t have anything to compare them to yet.

But hey, we do seem really happy. On a scale of 0 to 10, members averaged a 7.3 in what we call the Power Poll Happiness Index.

In our Power Power Poll Economic Predictor Index, members averaged a 6.2, which is certainly above the median of 5 but less than the happiness score.

Meanwhile, I would say the general anxiety levels of Power Poll members seemed to be rather high. Our Anxiety Index came in at 5.5. These are clearly not easy times.

Finally, in our Power Poll Political Confidence Index, we faced a small rebellion from our members who disagreed with the phrasing of the question. Many argued that they could not judge local, state, and federal leaders “as a whole” and instead wanted to judge them individually. Which was a solid point. Regardless, confidence levels clocked in at a 4, which was the lowest of the four questions we asked.

In later months we will begin extrapolating all sorts of cool things that come from launching this across the country. Stay tuned.

Context 2: Megan Barry versus Mark Green

Our former mayor has not formally announced she will run against Green, but all indicators point that direction. Most of the chat lines flowing into the Power Poll offices describe Barry as facing an uphill challenge, but at the same time other factors will help her in this heavily Republican district. (When the Republicans carved up Jim Cooper’s 5th Congressional District into three pizza slices, Barry, who lives in the Belmont Hillsboro neighborhood, was placed in Green’s district, which stretches north to Clarksville.)

What are the things that might help Barry? Republicans can’t get it together in the U.S. House. Abortion is getting Democrats to the polls. The heavily Democratic Nashville is just itching for a brawl. And let’s face it, Barry is way talented.

Just over half predicted Green would win. Just over a fourth said Barry. The rest didn’t know. It will be a fun one to watch.

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

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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