Black poll shows ‘surge,’ Boyd camp calls it ‘bogus’

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) speaks at a Republican event in Nashville on May 7, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

An internal poll for U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s campaign shows the Gallatin Republican “surging ahead” of her primary rivals. The Grassroots Targeting poll of 800 registered Republican voters shows Black with 41%, compared with 26% for nearest rival Randy Boyd of Knoxville.

Chip Saltsman, the Randy Boyd for Governor Campaign CEO, promptly issued a statement calling the finding a “bogus poll” that fails to reflect what he called “a clearly competitive two-person race.”

Here is the full May 9 polling memo from Tim Saler of Grassroots Targeting:

Key Findings

  • Diane Black is surging ahead in the race for the Republican nomination to be Tennessee’s next Governor.
    • Black leads her next nearest competitor, Randy Boyd, by more than 14 points (40.6% to 26.3%). Bill Lee (11.4%) and Beth Harwell (6.4%) trail while 15.3% remain undecided.
Diane Black 40.6%
Randy Boyd 26.3%
Bill Lee 11.4%
Beth Harwell 6.4%
Undecided 15.3%
  • Diane Black is now leading in every region of the state, including her home media market and the home media market of Randy Boyd.
    • Black has a substantial lead (43.2% to 21.9%) in the Nashville media market.
    • Black leads in Boyd’s home Knoxville market (40.3% to 29.5%).
  • Diane Black and her campaign are effectively defining her within the conservative mainstream of the party, while voters who are just learning of Randy Boyd are concluding he is too moderate to be nominated – a risky proposition for a potentially-competitive general election where no conservatives can afford to be sidelined in the fall.


We conducted a survey research and analytics project on behalf of Diane Black for Governor, between May 4, 2018 and May 6, 2018. We interviewed 800 registered Tennessee Republican primary voters matched directly to the voter file. We then modeled an enhanced voter file of Tennessee Republican primary voters. Our findings are reflective of the full modeled Tennessee Republican primary voter file.


Statement from the Boyd campaign:

Nashville, Tenn. – Chip Saltsman, Randy Boyd for Governor Campaign CEO, released the following statement regarding the bogus poll put out by Diane Black for Governor earlier today:

Congressman Black must clearly be worried about the message Tuesday’s Republican primary races across the country showed – in Trump’s Republican Party, voters are having a tough time giving a promotion to someone who’s been a part of creating the “DC swamp” in the first place.

The made up numbers they released are nowhere near what our numbers show – which is a clearly competitive two-person race.

The memo they released was not even prepared by their long-standing polling firm of record, but instead, a firm focused on producing “enhanced” models. It is no surprise they failed to release the actual responses from the 800 GOP primary voters they claim to have surveyed – but rather released a cooked number after it was ‘modeled’ by their campaign.

They also failed to share any of the questions asked, any of the crosstabs, or the interview dates or survey method. It’s silly to think that just 15 percent of all primary voters are undecided at this time – when almost every other poll we’ve seen shows that number in the 40s.

Clearly, they are peddling some kind of “enhanced modeled ” push poll to show the results they want. This may be the kind of funny math the Congressman is used to in Washington, but these numbers just don’t add up at all here in Tennessee.

Now we know why the Congressman failed to balance the government’s budget and exploded the federal debt during her many years in Washington.

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