U.S. Rep. Diane Black continues to be the most recognizable name in a crowded field of 2018 Tennessee gubernatorial candidates, a new Vanderbilt University poll finds.
In fact, the Republican from Gallatin, Tenn. has surged ahead in terms of name recognition in the last six months, while her six other opponents have seen little change since earlier this year.
The poll, released Thursday, found 59 percent of respondents recognized Black’s name, a 10 percent jump from a survey released in May.
With 41 percent, former Nashville mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat, came in second in terms of name recognition. That’s just a three percent increase from Vanderbilt’s May poll.
Other Republican candidates saw similar increases, including House Speaker Beth Harwell and Knoxville entrepreneur Randy Boyd who had name recognition of 40 and 33 percent, respectively.
In May, 34 percent of respondents recognized Harwell’s name, while Boyd had 26 percent.
Twenty-eight percent of respondents recognized former Republican state Sen. Mae Beavers’ name – the exact same she had in May.
Trailing in their respective fields were Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, a Republican, and state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, a Democrat. Just 14 percent of respondents recognized Lee’s name, while 10 percent knew Fitzhugh in the latest poll.
The poll was conducted by the Vanderbilt University Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions between Nov. 16 and Dec. 5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. A total of 1,013 registered Tennessee voters were surveyed.