Poll: Hagerty, Sethi within margin of error in NE Tennessee

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With a good portion of respondents still undecided, Bill Hagerty leads Dr. Manny Sethi by six percentage points in a poll of Northeast Tennesseans.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Bill Hagerty leads Dr. Manny Sethi by 6.6 percentage points in a recent poll of Northeast Tennessee voters conducted for WJHL.

The poll of 800 people likely to vote in the Aug. 6 primary, by Spry Strategies, shows Hagerty at 35.6 percent. Sethi was selected by 29 percent of respondents, with Dr. George Flinn far behind at 2.5 percent.

Nearly a third of respondents were undecided. The poll, conducted to gauge sentiment on the GOP primary in the First Congressional District race to succeed Phil Roe, included numerous other questions, including the Senate question.

Among other insights, the poll showed Hagerty stronger than his overall 35.6 percent among people who strongly approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance and among those listing illegal immigration and the Second Amendment as their most important issues.

Sethi ran stronger than his average among younger voters, those who had attended college or graduate school, and those who were less supportive of Trump’s job performance.

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Bill Hagerty

Only people who answered all 23 poll questions were considered “completes” and included in the final report. Those respondents listed the economy and job growth far above seven other issues as “most important.” They were overwhelmingly conservative (54 percent “very”, 31 percent “somewhat”) and the vast majority were over 55 years old.

Manny Sethi

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. The 800 likely voters who completed surveys conducted by “IVR” (Interactive Voice Response), live caller and online mobile interviews came from a potential field of 23,677 voters.

Spry’s parameters limited outreach to people who voted in at least three of five Republican primaries in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, plus voters who first registered between May 1, 2018 and June 20, 2020.

All three Senate candidates are spending heavily on the race, Federal Election Commission filings show.

In the quarter ended March 31 (second quarter filings are due July 15), Hagerty spent more than $1 million. He loaned his campaign about $2.5 million in that quarter, raised around $1.2 million and ended the quarter with $5.6 million on hand.

Sethi loaned his campaign $400,000 in the first quarter, bringing his total of personal funds loaned to his campaign to $1.9 million. He raised more than $400,000, spent more than $700,000 and entered April with about $2 million on hand.

Flinn loaned $1.3 million to his campaign in the first quarter, when he spent more than $1 million and entered April with slightly more than $500,000 on hand.

Bill Hagerty exceeded his average with people who rate illegal immigration as their most important issue. Dr. Manny Sethi led Hagerty among voters who listed health care as their most important issue.

Note: The cross-tabulated information includes data from people who may not have answered all questions and made it into the “complete” list, and lacks a small number of respondents who were polled late in the survey using direct calls.

More people (45 percent) listed the economy and jobs as their most important issue than any other, by far. The candidates were close to their averages in that category.

Hagerty led strongly among voters who were most concerned about illegal immigration. Those who tapped health care included a much higher number of undecided voters, but Sethi led Hagerty in that category.

When it came to Trump job approval, the vast majority of respondents strongly approved, and Hagerty had a wider margin over Sethi — 42.1 percent to 25.8 percent — than he did in the general poll.

For those who somewhat approved, somewhat disapproved or strongly disapproved of Trump’s job performance — granted, far fewer respondents combined — Sethi was far ahead of Hagerty.

Those comparisons were 34.2 percent to 13.2 percent among respondents who somewhat approved, 27.7 to 5.9 percent among those who somewhat disapproved, and 26.9 to 3.9 percent among those who strongly disapproved.

Sethi held a slight lead over Hagerty among people with some college, and a larger one over those with graduate degrees. Hagerty led Sethi by 20 points among those with only a high school education, and also had a wider than average lead over Sethi (37.6 percent to 25.8 percent) among those who had completed vocational school.

The poll showed Hagerty and Sethi tracking close to their averages among voters over 65 and those 55-64. Though it was a smaller sample size and had a higher percentage (48) of undecideds, the 35-54 age group favored Sethi, 28 percent to 22 percent.

Hagerty led Sethi 40 percent to 22 percent among people with household incomes under $50,000. He was ahead 33-31 in the $50,000-$75,000 group, while Sethi led 39-29 among those earning $75,000-$150,000.

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