MEMO TO STATE GOP: Tennessee voters across the board want Bredesen to stay.
So too should the state GOP in March 2006 with regard to the Tennessee Governor's race.
All the posturing and the parading of possible GOP gubernatorial candidates cannot mask the truth - Bredesen will win re-election this year.
Why am I so confident about this?
Back in 2002, I worked in a congressional race and witnessed first hand the handiwork of a sharp pollster named Fred Yang who has a knack for dead-on accuracy when it comes to calling political races. Yang, who was also Bredesen's pollster last go around, is at it again.
Yesterday my sticky fingers nabbed a copy of a March 21st internal polling memo from Yang to Governor Bredesen. Yang was reporting on the results of a statewide poll of 600 likely Tennessee voters taken last week - between March 15 - 19. The survey was vintage Yang - a full bodied, across the board representative sampling of the state by region, race and other key demographics (not your run of the mill, cheap ass, lazy, random calling type survey).
Yang's core findings - Bredesen is in the strongest possible position going into the election season - ranked as the most popular elected official in the state by far - with a 63% positive rating and a 16% negative rating.
At this point my GOP friends may want to "look away" and start humming the chorus to Dixie instead of reading further.
Yang also documented Bredesen's support to be strongly bi-partisan and very deep-seated -- with a 68% positive rating among Independents and a 56% positive rating from Republicans.
Yang's memo went further looking at job performance - where Bredesen was rated by two thirds (65%) of Tennesseans as doing an excellent or good job.
WARNING TO GOP FRIENDS: You really, really don't want to read this next line.
The results also showed Bredesen garnering support from two thirds of voters in GOP stronghold regions such as the Knoxville area.
Yang's memo concludes with the most amazing stat - in 2002, two thirds of Tennesseans felt the state was heading in the wrong direction (remember Sundquist?). Today half of the electorate (50%) say Tennessee is now on the right track.
Yang's conclusion - "voters across Tennessee now feel confident that the state has finally turned the corner and is making progress in dealing with important issues."
All this to say, Governor Bredesen is in office to stay.