Poll finds Black leads Dean by 11 points hypothetical governor match; Beavers tied

Former state Sen. Mae Beavers and Williamson County businessman Bill Lee would face closer general election races as the Republican nominee for governor against  Democrat Karl Dean, a former Nashville mayor, than three other contenders for the GOP nomination, according to a poll commissioned by Tennessee Star.

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06) leads Democratic front runner Karl Dean by 11 points in a head-to-head matchup in Tennessee’s general election for governor, 46 percent to 35 percent.

Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) leads Dean by 10 points, 42 percent to 32 percent, and Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd leads Dean by 9 points, 43 percent to 34 percent.

The two other potential Republican gubernatorial challengers fare less well.

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee leads Dean by 4 points 38 percent to 34 percent, and former State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) is essentially tied with Dean, leading by two-tenths of one percent, 35.9 percent to 35.7 percent.

The automated (IVR) telephone survey of 1,003 likely Tennessee voters in the November 2018 general election was conducted for The Tennessee Star by Triton Research between January 21 and January 24 and has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

“Because the poll included fewer African American respondents than the likely distribution in November 2018, I think it is safe to add about five percentage points to the results for Dean in each head to head matchup,” conservative political analyst and media consultant Steve Gill tells The Star.

“But because almost all of the Republican candidates are suffering from pretty low name identification in areas of the state that traditionally provide strong support for Republican candidates there is no reason to sound alarm bells over the relatively narrow lead that the Republican candidates have over Dean when you account for African American votes. The numbers should, however, put the Republicans on notice that they need to aggressively improve their name recognition in areas outside their own regional base of support,” Gill notes.

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