The answer, evidently, is "No." But hey, we made you look!
If you picked up the fish-wrapper or spent any time on the Internet Sunday, you heard the shocking news. In bold, above-the-fold letters, The Tennessean announced the results of a new Vanderbilt poll declaring that the outcome of Tennessee's vote in the forthcoming presidential election is far less than foregone.
"President Barack Obama has pulled into a virtual tie with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in traditionally conservative Tennessee," wrote Michael Cass, to lead the story.
To many readers and political observers who are not the Democratic Party, that sounded dubious. And as it turns out, it is.
That's because, while that is what the poll says, it's not what the poll says. Curiously enough, Cass reports precisely that, just a few grafs down. The poll of 1,002 Tennesseans 18 and older found that 42 percent of respondents would vote for Romney, while 41 percent would vote for Obama if the election were held right now.
However, among registered voters — that is, people who actually could vote if the election were held right now — Romney leads Obama 47-40.
"It's not that close a race," Vanderbilt political science professor John Geer told Cass, who noted that Geer actually predicts an easy Tennessee victory for Romney in November, once currently undecided conservatives get behind the GOP candidate.
Geer told Pith all that too and said Romney will likely win the state with around 56 percent of the vote. He also called the blaring pronouncement from 1100 Broadway "misleading."
"I tried to get the Tennessean not to lead with the overall numbers because they were misleading," he said. "The poll tells you pretty clearly that Romney's gonna win. You can take this one slice — and the Democrats certainly like the slice and I don't blame them for liking it — but come November, unless there is some landslide of epic proportions unfolding, Romney is going to carry Tennessee comfortably."
We asked editors at the daily about the apparent contradiction between the headline and front-page treatment of the story and what their reporter actually reported.
"In emails after publication, Dr. Geer praised the coverage," writes Tennessean managing editor Meg Downey in an email to Pith. "He noted conservatives might see bias in the headline but did not express that as his own opinion. The poll data demonstrates the accuracy of our headline and story."
It's true, conservatives on the Internet have been shouting bias. But you'll find no objectivity police here. We're guessing the motivation was based more in the fact that the "Obama Closes Gap With Romney" hed generates more buzz than "RED STATE IS RED: NOTHING TO SEE HERE."
Politico's Charlie Mahtesian heard the news too and went with a different headline: Tenn. poll: A blowout wrapped in a nail-biter.