A recently commissioned poll released to the Scene shows that the outgoing Mayor Phil Bredesen is still very well-liked but that voters are nevertheless ready for him to step aside.
The poll, conducted by a political candidate for next summer’s Metro elections, indicates a sort of voter schizophrenia about Bredesen’s tenure and the direction Nashville is moving.
On the one hand, for example, 55 percent of the sample said the city is moving in the ”right“ direction, as opposed to 20 percent who said Nashville is moving in the ”wrong“ direction and another 22 percent who indicated mixed feelings.
In addition, asked to rate Bredesen and his job as mayor, 23 percent of the polling sample gave him an ”excellent“ rating and 46 percent gave him a ”good“ rating. A smaller 30 percent said he was either ”not so good“ or ”poor.“
But despite that popularity, a stunning majority of those polled indicated the next mayor should have a very different style of management than Bredesen’s. Specifically, only 16 percent of those polled said that they would support a Bredesen-like candidate ”who would continue to make public investments in large civic projects that generate jobs, economic growth, and make Nashville a big league city.“
Instead, given the choice between the Bredeseneque candidate and ”one who would focus attention and investment in neighborhoods to make then safer and better places to live,“ 80 percent chose the latter.
Summarizing the data, the pollsters explained the responses about Bredesen and the direction of the city this way: ”On the surface, voters are happy with Nashville’s political management, and a 55 percent majority say we’re moving in the right direction and two-thirds rate Bredesen positively. But despite that overall positive, voters clearly want change. They’re ready to move beyond Bredesen and beyond large project investment to a focus on neighborhoods.“
One Nashville political observer put it a slightly different way: ”Bredesen’s still popular, but he doesn’t have coattails. It seems voters would love for him to keep doing what he’s doing, but they don’t want anyone else doing it.“
Here to stay
Vice Mayor Jay West began this week an expensive endeavor to destroy any doubt that he’s a serious candidate for mayor. Plagued by persistant rumors that he plans to drop out of next summer’s mayoral racefully eight months awayWest began airing political television commercials this week.
The advertisements, which began airing during the 10 p.m. news broadcasts on all three major networks Sunday night, cast West as a friend to Metro employees and blue-collar workers across the city.
”This is an effort to show that we’re in the race and we’re genuine,“ West says. ”When you go and tell the people of Nashville that you want to be their mayor, that’s pretty genuine.“
Despite his consistant denials that he will drop out of what is so far a three-man contest to replace Mayor Phil Bredesen, rumors about the West candidacy fizzling have managed to stay alive. Observers speculate it’s for that reasonas well as to catch up to the better-funded, better-known former Mayor Dick Fultonthat West is out of the gates so early on advertising.
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