Alexander-sponsored poll shows lead over Burchett, Carr

Alexander-sponsored poll shows lead over Burchett, Carr

Updated:
A polling company paid by Sen. Lamar Alexander says 69 percent of Tennessee Republican primary voters approve of the senator's job performance. A polling company paid by Sen. Lamar Alexander says 69 percent of Tennessee Republican primary voters approve of the senator's job performance.
The study says Alexander beats Burchett with a margin of 62 percent to 23 percent. The study says Alexander beats Burchett with a margin of 62 percent to 23 percent.
Alexander also leads Carr with 64 percent to Carr's 22 percent, according to the study. Alexander also leads Carr with 64 percent to Carr's 22 percent, according to the study.
"Mayor Burchett is known in Knox County," said Whit Ayres, president of the polling company that conducted the poll. "But he is virtually unknown throughout the rest of the state." "Mayor Burchett is known in Knox County," said Whit Ayres, president of the polling company that conducted the poll. "But he is virtually unknown throughout the rest of the state."

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A polling company paid by Sen. Lamar Alexander says Tennessee Republican primary voters prefer Alexander over Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and State Rep. Joe Carr.

North Star Opinion Research released the study early Wednesday morning. The firm surveyed 600 likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee earlier this month using live interviews, according to a release.

Alexander has been under fire from conservative groups statewide for his support for a bill giving a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Many of those groups are made up of tea party supporters and those surveyed gave the lowest approval ratings among conservative groups. Fifty-seven percent approved of the senator's job performance while 41 percent did not.

State Rep. Joe Carr announced last week he will challenge Alexander for his Senate seat. Adding to the pressure on Alexander, Burchett told Politico last month that state conservatives approached him to run against Alexander.

The study says Alexander beats Burchett with a margin of 62 percent to 23 percent.

"Mayor Burchett is known in Knox County," said Whit Ayres, president of the polling company that conducted the poll. "But he is virtually unknown throughout the rest of the state, and would have to raise millions of millions of dollars to become a credible alternative candidate to Senator Alexander."

Burchett says he was flattered to be included in the poll.

"I appreciate the Alexander campaign for using their dollars to promote me state-wide. I was tickled to death with it," he said. Burchett has not made a decision about running, but must decide by January.

According to a quarterly F.E.C. filing in June, Alexander has $3.1 million cash on hand.

Alexander also leads Carr with 64 percent to Carr's 22 percent, according to the study.

Carr tells 6 News the poll shows Alexander and his staff are concerned about the election.

"I think here is my candidacy for the United States Senate barely a week old, and the Senator feels compelled to do a poll for an election that is almost a year away," said Carr.

Last week, Carr told WTN-FM host Ralph Bristol he received hundreds of emails, calls and text messages asking him to run against Alexander.

"I have a lot of respect for Senator Alexander and the service that he has given to the great state of Tennessee," said Carr in last week's radio interview. "But Senator Alexander's record, especially his voting record, has departed from that of the majority of Tennesseans."

The study says a majority of likely Republican primary voters approve of Alexander's job performance:

  • Strong republicans approve by 74 to 21 percent.
  • Evangelical Christians approve by 70 to 24 percent.
  • Very conservative voters approve by 58 to 35 percent.
  • Strong Tea Party supporters approve by 57 to 41 percent.

Ayres says Alexander remains a popular public official.

"His announced and potential opponents are little known or completely unknown to Tennessee Republican primary voters," he said.

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