Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Polls Show Ford In a Dead Heat, but Numbers are Disturbing

Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., according to recent polls, is locked in a dead heat for the open US Senate seat from Tennessee. However, when one exams the crosstabs Ford's support is tenuous and may be weakening.

While our "Trends in Black Races" shows Ford with a slim 2 point lead averaged over the last 3 polls, a remarkable position to be in with just over 3 weeks left in the campaign, when you dig into numbers you begin to see some issues.

The "Reticence Level", the lack of support from one's own party, is relatively low for Ford (19%), but it seems to be increasing and his support from Republicans ("Cross Support -X-Support") is coming down. In a close race you would expect party registrants to return "home" which explains the decrease in GOP support for Ford, but it also illustrates a problem for the Ford campaign with the rising Reticence Level.

While the politically shrewd Ford may be able to overcome those numbers, the fact that only 70% of African Americans in a recent SurveyUSA poll are supporting him should be a cause for alarm.

To win this race Ford will need a massive black voter turnout and will need to garner at least 75% plus of that vote to win the race against former Chattanooga Mayor and GOP nominee Bob Corker.

The race is still very winnable, but the deeper poll numbers show the path will not be easy.


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