Poll shows Romney far ahead in Tennessee

Poll shows Romney far ahead in Tennessee
MURFREESBORO (AP) — A Middle Tennessee State University poll of likely Tennessee voters shows Republican Mitt Romney far ahead of President  Obama, a lead driven by strong support among white evangelical voters.
The poll, which was released Saturday, shows 59 percent of likely voters favoring Romney, 34 percent backing Obama, 6 percent undecided and 1 percent supporting another candidate.
The telephone poll was conducted Oct. 16-21 among registered voters who had voted early or said they were very likely to vote in the Nov. 6 election. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 points at the 95 percent level of confidence.
The poll found that white evangelicals, who comprise about 60 percent of Tennessee’s electorate, back Romney over Obama 74 percent to 21 percent, with 5 percent undecided.
Poll director Ken Blake said white evangelical support has shifted to Romney since Tennessee’s GOP presidential primary in March, when former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum beat Romney by about 11 points. The poll reported that 84 percent of those who said they had voted for Santorum now support Romney, who served as Massachusetts governor for one term.
“The once-strained relationship between Gov. Romney and religious Tennesseans seems to have improved markedly since this spring’s primary election,” Blake said in a statement.
Assistant poll director Jason Reineke said the shift is likely a reflection of partisan loyalty. Tennessee’s white evangelicals have backed Republicans in presidential elections since 2004.
The poll reveals softer support for Romney among evangelical white women, with 63 percent of them supporting the Republican nominee compared with 79 percent of evangelical white men.
Other poll questions found strong support for Republicans.
Less than a quarter of political Independents support Obama while more than two-thirds favor Romney.
The poll also found Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker leading Mark Clayton, the nominee disavowed by the Democratic Party, 59 percent to 21 percent with 12 percent undecided.
Online: MTSU Poll: http://www.mtsusurveygroup.org.
Published in The Messenger 10.29.12

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