Poll: Frist has wide name recognition in state
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 9:16 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — Potential Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Frist is known to more than nine in 10 Tennessee voters, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by the Chattanooga Times Free Press found that 93 percent of respondents were familiar with the former Senate majority leader’s name, and that 58 percent view him in a favorably.
Frist, 56, left office in 2007 after 12 years in the Senate. He has said he will make a decision early next year about whether to run for governor in 2010.
Other Republicans who may consider running are far less known around the state: U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn was recognized by 56 percent, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp by 52 percent, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam by 37 percent and state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey by 36 percent.
Current Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is barred from seeking a third term. The poll found 65 percent have a positive impression of Bredesen’s job performance, while 32 percent rated it as only “fair” or “poor.”
The governor said he was pleased with the poll results considering what he called his “lame duck status” two years into his last term.
“We’ve certainly had some challenges over the past few months, so I feel very good about those approval ratings,” Bredesen said. The statewide telephone poll of 625 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Among Democrats who may consider running, former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr.’s name was recognized by 94 percent — but only 35 percent of respondents viewed him favorably.
Ford’s opponent in the 2006 U.S. Senate race, Republican Sen. Bob Corker, had similar numbers: 92 percent knew who he was, with 37 percent who view him favorably.
“That race was nasty on both sides,” said Brad Coker, Mason-Dixon’s managing director. He noted that both candidates in the tight race got “slimed a bit.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, who is also considering a gubernatorial bid, was recognized by 55 percent of respondents. The survey did not include results for former state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan, a Clarksville Democrat who has formed a committee to explore a run for governor.