Striking Stability in TN Senate Poll Numbers, Despite 'Playboy' Ad & Press Conference Barge-In: In an election today, 10/25/06, for United States Senator from Tennessee, Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Harold Ford tie, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WBIR-TV Knoxville. Today, 13 days to Election Day, it's Corker 48%, Ford 48%. In 3 SurveyUSA WBIR-TV polls conducted over the past 60 days, Ford has never been below 46%, never above 48%. Corker has never been below 45%, never above 48%. The contest has gained national attention in recent days, after the Republican National Committee aired a TV commercial with a winking Playboy Bunny and, to a lesser extent, when Ford's campaign bus showed up uninvited at a Corker press conference. In the face of the increased media scrutiny, almost nothing has happened when the polling data is sifted.
Day-to-day, across the 3-day interviewing period, the contest was tied, tied, and tied. Where there is movement, it is offsetting. Among Independents, Ford had led by 8, now trails by 8, a 16-point swing to the Republican. This is offset by Democrat voters now backing Ford today 10:1, up from 6:1. There is offsetting movement among voters age 50+. Among those 50 to 64, Ford had led by 5 on 10/10, now trails by 4, a 9-point shift to the Republican. Among voters age 65+, Corker had led by 5 two weeks ago, now trails by 4, a 9-point shift to the Democrat. Among the least educated voters, Ford had led by 9, now leads by 19, a 10-point swing to the Democrat. Among the most educated voters, Ford had led by 21, now leads by 5, a 16-point swing to the Republican. Nothing is happening in Eastern and Middle TN, but in Western TN, where Corker had been up 1, he is now is down 13. Among whites, who make up 83% of Likely Voters in SurveyUSA's turnout model today, Corker had led by 7 in SurveyUSA's most recent tracking poll on 10/10/06, now leads by 11. Among blacks, who make up 15% of Likely Voters today, Ford had led by 47, now leads by 62. African American turnout may determine the winner of the increasingly acrimonious Senate contest. Ford gets 4 of 5 black votes. With black turnout less than 15%, the Republican wins. With black turnout higher than 15%, the Democrat wins. With black turnout at 15%, the contest is tied. As the black voters of Tennessee go, so may go control of the United States Senate.