MTSU Poll Details Traits Of State’s Democrats, Republicans

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MURFREESBORO – The MTSU Poll’s newly released “Spring 2012 Partisan Profiles” reveal which demographic traits tend to distinguish Tennessee’s Republicans, Democrats and independents from each other as the state’s primary and general elections approach.

The state’s Republicans, for example, are more likely than Democrats or independents to watch Fox News and to be white, moderately wealthy suburbanites.

Tennessee Democrats, meanwhile, include significantly more nonwhites who get their news from CBS News, CNN and MSNBC in homes in the city, especially Nashville, and earn $40,000 or less per year.

“There are, of course, any number of individual exceptions to these patterns,” said Dr. Ken Blake, director of the MTSU Poll and an associate professor of journalism in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.

“There certainly are wealthy, suburban Democrats and minority, urban Republicans and so forth. But analysis of our statewide poll data shows that, overall, the members of each group exhibit a particular set of traits significantly more often than do the members of the other groups.”

According to the analysis, Tennessee Republicans are more likely than Democrats or independents to:

• prefer watching Fox News, especially if they also live in middle or East Tennessee and make more than $45,000 a year;

• be white or Asian, especially if they also live either in the “doughnut” of counties contiguous to Metro Nashville/Davidson County or in either East or West Tennessee and also attend church regularly;

• live in a suburb or a small metro area, especially they’re also relatively wealthy; and

• earn more than $100,000 a year.

Tennessee’s Democrats, meanwhile, are more likely than Republicans or independents to:

• be nonwhite, especially if they also earn $40,000 or less per year;

• prefer to watch CBS News, CNN or MSNBC, especially if they’re also female;

• be female, especially if they also live in the city, particularly in Metro Nashville/Davidson County; and

• live in middle or West Tennessee rather than in East Tennessee.

Finally, Tennessee’s independents are more likely than Republicans or Democrats to:

• be male;

• pay little attention to any of the TV network news outlets;

• go to church about once a month; and

• live in middle Tennessee, but neither in Metro Nashville/Davidson County nor in any of its contiguous counties.

Overall, Republicans make up about 33 percent of the state’s population, while Democrats account for 24 percent, and independents constitute 29 percent. Eleven percent identify themselves as something other than Republican, Democrat or independent, and the rest don’t know or give no answer.

The analysis, based on data from the latest MTSU Poll conducted in fall 2011, determined each group’s demographic profile by examining which one of a set of 14 standard demographic variables was statistically most salient among self-identified members of the group. The analysis was then repeated with that variable removed from consideration and continued until none of the remaining variables were statistically more common among the members of the group compared to others.

The 14 demographic variables were age, race, education, income, gender, frequency of worship service attendance, preferred television news network, frequency of reading a daily newspaper, frequency of watching television news, frequency of watching television in general, and four variables related to geographic location. Some of the 14 demographic variables overlap.

For more than a decade, the MTSU Poll has been providing independent, nonpartisan and unbiased public opinion data on major social, political, and ethical issues affecting Tennessee. The poll began in 1998 as a measure of public opinion in the 39 counties comprising middle Tennessee and began measuring public opinion statewide in 2001. Learn more at

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February 09, 2012 at 1:12pm
Tennessee Republicans prefer watching FOX NEWS, so the poll noted.

Here's a poll from FORBES last November about FOX NEWS viewers:

"A poll by Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey showed that of all the news channels out there, Fox News viewers are the least informed.

People were asked questions about news habits and current events in a statewide poll of 600 New Jersey residents recently. Results showed that viewers of Sunday morning news shows were the most informed about current events, while Fox News viewers were the least informed. In fact, FDU poll results showed they were even less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all.

Readers of The New York Times, USA Today and listeners to National Public Radio were better informed about international events than other media outlets."

February 09, 2012 at 2:32pm
Well MMW we could all get our liberal, biased information from MSNBC or CNN and live in a fantasy world that they want us to live in.

Me personally, I despise every biased political pundit and news station because in my opinion they all try to skew the information in a way that benefits the party they represent.

None of them use the power they are given to actually do what is best for the whole, they simply use the rhetoric to promote ratings and make money.

I don't watch any of them nor do I listen to any of them. I prefer the old fashion way. I go to the non-biased government websites to get the information I want such as the U.S. Department of Labor website, the CBO website and All of these are neutral, independent sites with no political affiliation and provide very good information.

I might also add that in this technological age it is very easy to simply pull up the words of the person on YouTube and other video sites and simply listen to them make their promise of change and then look at the evidence to the contrary three years later.

All of that is well within the reach of anyone who makes $100,000 a year or $40,000 a year or lives in the East or West sections of the State of Tennessee. Anything else is just non-sense.
February 09, 2012 at 5:38pm
“There are, of course, any number of individual exceptions to these patterns,” said Dr. Ken Blake, director of the MTSU Poll and an associate professor of journalism in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.

I think it's just easier for a person to listen to and consider one side of an issue. There are times I wish I could. Thinking requires effort.
February 12, 2012 at 12:40am
Or you can get your news from the Cannon Courier.
February 12, 2012 at 3:08am
People can get some of their news from the Cannon Courier, but as it stands we don't have the resources to adequately cover everything that goes on within the borders of Cannon County and, as the saying goes, it's a big world out there.
February 14, 2012 at 5:52am
WKRN has this poll data on line, wonder if it would hold true for Cannon County Republicans also?


The American Research Group (ARG) phone survey last week of 600-mainly Republican Tennesseans, shows Santorum with a 34% preference, Mitt Romney at 27%, Newt Gingrich 16%, Ron Paul 13%, nine percent undecided and one-percent for others.
February 14, 2012 at 6:22am
Thanks Cory
For the non-biased government websites - - -
which stands for :
US Dept Labor
Congressional Budget Office
Fact Check

Sarah Womack
February 14, 2012 at 6:43am
You are welcome Sarah.

There are more sites out there that are non-political and independent from all parties but I just didn't list them all.

I personally prefer those because unlike most people I don't think one party walks on water and can do no wrong and the last time I checked there was only one who could do that and HE wasn't affiliated with any political party.

Everyone else sinks like a rock, so no matter what people say about their political parties, their candidate or group as a whole the idea should not be to follow blindly along but come to informed and honest opinions based off independent information.

I believe their are good ideas from a lot of people and different parties that never get out simply because people are so against a specific political party that they refuse to acknowledge it as something that could help the whole. That is a shame in my opinion!
February 14, 2012 at 8:45am
and life goes on....thanks again Cory and nice talking to your dad Sunday at church.....I told him I was the one who TALKS alot and he laughed........
thanks again
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