Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Exit Polls Analysis in Tennessee

Some reasons and trends in Tennessee voting:

Tellingly, a 52 percent majority of those voting Tuesday in Tennessee where whites who described themselves as evangelical or “born again” Christians. And of these white evangelical voters, fully three-fourths (75 percent) voted for McCain. McCain drew just 36 percent support among the 48 percent of Tennessee voters who were not white evangelicals.

“It’s likely that ‘values’ in the context of Tennessee’s presidential election meant ‘white, evangelical Christian values,’” Blake said. In Edison Media Research’s national exit polling, white evangelicals made up a relatively smaller 23 percent of voters. But, as in Tennessee, about three-fourths of white evangelicals across the nation favored McCain.

“Change,” the key theme of Obama’s campaign, appeared to lack resonance with Tennessee voters, according to fellow MTSU pollster Dr. Jason Reineke.

Other exit poll findings include:

• Obama won among Tennesseans age 18 to 29, but these represented only about 14 percent of those voting. McCain won among voters 30 and older.
• Obama won among African Americans, but McCain won among whites.
• Most Tennessee voters (61 percent) said they had made up their minds sometime before September.
• Obama won among those who disapprove of George W. Bush. McCain won among those who approve of Bush.
• McCain won among the state’s wealthier voters – those earning $50,000 or more. McCain and Obama basically tied among voters earning less.
• Most (72 percent) said the race of the candidates was not a factor for them. But among those who called it an important factor or the most important factor, most went for McCain.
• Obama won in urban areas. McCain won in the suburbs and in rural areas.

Pollsters Blake and Reineke are director and associate director, respectively, of the MTSU Poll, a twice-annual, scientifically valid public opinion poll of Tennessee adults. The most recent MTSU Poll was conducted in September 2008. See:

More info is available here.

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